Team Preview: Smoke City Betties

SMOKE CITY BETTIES

Wins Losses +/ - Notes
2010 Regular Season 0 3 -574 Currently on a 5 bout, ToRD losing streak.
2010 Playoffs 0 1 -88 A comparatively solid showing in the semis.

The 2010 Betties lost their 4 ToRD bouts by an average of 165 points. (Photo by Joe Mac)

2010

Things could have ended very badly for the Smoke City Betties in 2010. The team staggered into ToRD’s semifinals as the fourth seed, lining up across the track from the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Having lost their previous four bouts by a combined score of 975 – 167, the Betties seemed primed to be blown out, and in a big way. But then an interesting thing happened in that October bout: a cohesive team finally emerged to play its most competitive bout of the season.

After exploding the roster of the squad who’d made a spirited run to the 2009 championship, the 2010 Betties were rebuilding around a small core of veterans. There were certainly a fair share of growing pains along the way, but growing pains build maturity. The Betties ended last season truly looking like a team of the future.

LOSSES AND GAINS

BruiseBerry Pie salutes the crowd in her Hangar debut at the 2010 Clam Slam. (Photo by Joe Mac)

For the first time in years, it is possible to talk about the Betties in terms of gains as opposed to losses. With a favourable position in the draft, the Betties played on their solid youth group by focusing on stockpiling veterans. ToRD veteran Mia Culprit returns to the track in 2011. A founding member of ToRD, and a veteran of the Gore’s 2009 championship team, Mia brings a wealth of experience to the track for a team that desperately needs it. Key is her ability to pivot, which, especially for a young squad, is extremely important. Another key addition to the front of the pack is BruiseBerry Pie. After cutting her teeth with the GTAR’s Derby Debutantes, BruiseBerry will be making her much anticipated ToRD debut in the Betties’ season opener. The hard-hitting pivot potentially entering the prime of her career could be a game changer for this Betties squad. Co-captain Lady Scorcher has said that the roster continuity, along with the addition of veterans, has really helped the team prepare for the season. “Last year we started the ToRD season with 12 rookies, this year we have two, it’s a completely different feel,” she said.  “We’ve had almost a year and lots of experiences that have bonded us as a team, and the new drafts are integrating with the team really well.”

Mia Culprit returns to the track after a one-year hiatus (seen here playing for the 2009 champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

BY POSITION

The Betties will be led by a trio of new bench bosses this season: Sneaky Teaze, a former player and then coach of the original D-VAS, returns, and she’ll be joined by The Count and Shaun Fletcher. During last year’s rebuild, many of the young Betties were thrust into important roles on the track. “We really had to throw most of our skaters into new roles, with big performance expectations last year,” Scorcher admitted in discussing the pressure on the Betties rookies last year. “It felt a bit like climbing a mountain, but now the peak is in sight and we aren’t limiting our expectations of what is possible this season.” So while it may have seemed punishing at the time, this experience should make for a team that is solid positionally in 2011.

Pivots: Both Mia Culprit and BruiseBerry Pie have considerable experience with the stripe, and will undoubtedly be looked upon for leadership up front. Last season, vets Hot Roller and Pretty Peeved stepped up to take on most of the load in this position and will probably do so again this year. Lacy Brawler and Lady Scorcher are two other experienced options up front (and both evolved into great two-way players late last year), but last season’s rookie triple threat Sail Her Poon can handle the pressure, and Grim Avenger (who had the third most track time among the rookies) ended 2010 with a prominent and versatile role in the pack and could be a pivot of the future.

Nine Betties played their first bouts in 2010 (including Mouth of the South, titmouse and Tropic Thunder). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Blockers: Once again, due to necessity, the Betties have an experienced group of second-year skaters who can fill out the pack. Mouth of the South, Sin D Drop Her, and P Doddy (whose track time increased considerably as the season progressed) all gained valuable experience last season and will be looked upon to take on a leadership roles in 2011. Diva Zapata and Genuine Risk both seem poised to take on considerably more of the workload as well. All of this means that rookie additions Rug Burn and Misery Mae (who gained valuable bouting experience with the D-VAS in 2010) have the privilege of developing at a slow, considered pace, free of the burden of expectation that last season’s rookies had thrust upon them.

Jammers: It could be argued that this is the position that the Betties struggled with most last season. Sole vet Memphis Kitty led the youthful attack and she’ll be back to perform the same role this season. The good news is, is that jammer squad who had an initiation by fire in 2010 is back intact. Tropic Thunder led the 2010 Betties with a 24 % jammer percentage and showed considerable grit and determination in what was a challenging role to play on such an inexperienced team. Her 24% was just ahead of Poon’s 22%, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the captain spread herself across the positions more, allowing fellow sophomores Platinum Bomb and titmouse a chance to develop with the star.

EXPECTATIONS

There is a general sense that after such an intense 2010, the future is now for the Smoke City Betties. And things look good in the preseason, as a confident looking Betties squad recently gained a hard-fought victory (81-77) over a similarly matched Rideau Valley Riot Squad. The 2011 version of the Betties looks far removed from the team that suffered a 234 point loss on its last trip to Ottawa (last August vs. The Slaughter Daughters). It remains to be seen how this team can compete in ToRD this season. Aside from the Gores predictably strong squad, there are many unknowns. The Death Track Dolls looked vulnerable in their season opener, and the Chicks Ahoy!—a team that has thrived on a consistent, experienced lineup—will be tested as they integrate a considerable rookie crop this year. Despite all of the new faces on the Chicks, the Betties are not taking their opponents lightly. “They still have plenty of big hitters, fast jammers and strong leaders,” Scorcher points out, adding “we’re really looking forward to starting off the season with this game, as it will be a great opportunity to see how far we’ve come since last playing them.”

There is one thing about this game that is a given: this bout will most certainly not be a repeat of last season’s 266-42 blowout.

From the Archives (July 19, 2009): Betties 68 vs. Chicks 61 (Betties' Slaughter Lauder tries to pass Chicks' Mega Bouche). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

2010 REGULAR SEASON STATS HIGHLIGHTS

- Over ToRD’s full 2010 season, had an average margin of loss of 166 points. Memphis Kitty’s -123 was actually the top overall +/- on the team.

- Sail Her Poon led the team in scoring (47 PTS, a 1.88 PPJ), while Memphis Kitty led with a 31% lead percentage.

- Pretty Peeved led the team in assists (12), blocks (24) and tied with Lady Scorcher for the lead in knockdowns (3).

- Lacy Brawler (who led the Betties in track time, appearing in 60% of the team’s jams) picked up the most minor penalties (29), majors (8) and total penalty minutes (14).

* Betties play the Chicls in the season opener for both teams on Saturday, March 12. Tickets for the bout are available online, or at various outlets down town. Doors of The Hangar open at 6:30, opening whistle at 7:30.

Check out ToRD.TV’s “Derby Couch” preview:

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