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Windy City Rollers Fri Sep 20 2013
North Carolina was even called a "cigarette state" by singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks.
The Windy City Rollers All-Stars hope to do some smoking in Asheville, N.C. this weekend, but not of tobacco. Instead, the All-Stars hope to smoke the competition on the flat track as they compete in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association Division One playoffs. If they finish as one of the top three teams, they'll earn the chance to compete for the Hydra trophy at the WFTDA championships in November.
The All-Stars go into the Division One playoffs on a hot streak. They beat the Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars on Aug. 24 and went 3-0 to win the Golden Bowl III tournament in July.
The All-Stars play their first bout of the playoffs today at 3 p.m. against the Dairyland Dolls of Madison, Wis.
"We're in a very comfortable position going up against them," said All-Stars captain Molly Fannin, who skates under the name Bork Bork Bork. "We like to play a little bit faster."
All-Stars bench coach Ava Williamson, known by her derby name Georgia on Yer Behind, said that one key to playoff success is making sure the team has all their skaters on the track.
"We're constantly, constantly working on penalties," Williamson said.
Fannin agreed and said there is not one penalty the team incurs more than any other.
"When we look at a penalty sheet, it's across the board," she said. "If we have five on the track, we can take anyone."
Though they first must get through Madison, the All-Stars are looking beyond the first round. Fannin and Williamson believe the All-Stars could face the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars on Sunday. The All-Stars lost to Gotham earlier this season, but Williamson believes they can win if they don't get called for too many penalties and shut down Gotham jammer Bonnie Thunders.
"She's just really persistent," Williamson said.
Fannin said she believes the All-Stars play a more team-oriented game than Gotham, who she said relies heavily on Bonnie Thunders.
"They focus their game on one player," she said.
Fannin said the All-Stars have come a long way since the beginning of their season. At the beginning, she said, the team was a bit less focused and sloppier. But the team has been working all season to fix that.
"The mental aspect is the biggest change," Fannin said. "We've come so far. I would say we could now call each other a mentally strong team."
Watch the All-Stars in Asheville
Can't take a last-minute trip to Asheville to see the All-Stars in the playoffs? The Windy City Rollers are hosting a playoff viewing party tomorrow afternoon if the All-Stars beat Madison today.
When: Tomorrow from 2:30-6:30 p.m.
Where: The back room of Quenchers, 2401 N. Western Ave.