Gold and bronze decor year for women’s curling

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Burant)

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Burant)

After missing nationals last year, the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s curling team managed to take home the bronze medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) curling championships this past weekend in Regina, Sask.

Despite defeating the Carleton Ravens in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final and the first match of the round robin 6-5, the Hawks were unable to replicate that success as Carleton managed to score three points in the eighth end to be the difference maker as they fell 6-3 in the semi-finals.

This is the sixth medal in the last seven years for women’s curling with four gold and two bronze.

“Coming off of the OUA win, we thought a reasonable outcome for us would be to make playoffs, and then once we started playing a couple games in CIS we realized that we could potentially win this,” said skip Carly Howard.

“Unfortunately we lost in the semi, but we’re still proud to come home with the bronze for Laurier and that is an outcome that we are fine with.”

After a year off the provincial podium, Howard and her rink reclaimed the gold medal in February.

“I think we played really well at the OUAs. We started out pretty slow, but each game our goal was to play better and better and at CIS we moved forward with what we had at OUAs and just kept going off that,” she said. “I think our team played amazing all week, we missed shots here and there but they didn’t cost us too much.”

Women’s curling coach Maurice Wilson echoed Howard’s attitude.

“I was quite proud of their effort, I think going out we were certainly capable of winning the gold,” he said. “I think we had all the talent, the execution was good enough, the systems we had in place were good, but we didn’t have the experience for the national/international level we needed to take the next step [towards gold].”

Along with the third-place finish, Howard was also named a second-team all-Canadian for the first time in her university career.

Only one member of the team, lead Cheryl Kreviazuk, will not be returning next year due to graduation, ending her illustrious career with the Hawks with three OUA championships, two CIS championships, and a CIS bronze medal.

“We will definitely miss her, but then the opportunity comes for another player to come on,” said Howard.

With her departure, the team will need to find a replacement, but Wilson isn’t stressing about that.

“We’re obligated to hold open tryouts, but we have lots of talent in our junior varsity program,” he said. “Chelsea Brandwood was our alternate this year who came up from junior varsity as a freshman and she’s an outstanding talent who I was confident could play any of the positions and do a great job, so I’m not too worried about it. Certainly lots of talent probably coming in next year and already there.”

Wilson is still looking to make improvements in the coming year.

“I’d like to see the girls take a few more risks,” he said.

“I felt they were maybe a bit more conservative than what I’d like them to play, but that’s what they felt comfortable with. I think that’s a thing that could take them to the next level for sure.”

“I’m not sure what the team will be like next year, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can have the same success that we had this year moving forward,” added Howard.

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