Last rock sinks women’s curling
GUELPH, Ont. — For the first time in three years, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s curling championship will not see Wilfrid Laurier on the podium.
Sunday afternoon featured two games with a lot on the line. The McMaster Marauders (4-1) were playing the undefeated Brock Badgers (5-0) for an opportunity to play a tiebreaker game. Laurier, who had a 3-2 record, met with the Carleton Ravens, also sitting at 3-2. The winner would also force a tiebreak with an opportunity to advance to the semifinals Monday morning.
In a back-and-forth affair between the Ravens and the Hawks, Carleton edged out Laurier on the final shot of the eighth end to win 7-6.
Carleton will play the UOIT Ridgebacks tonight at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the semifinals.
“I felt they had a very good game,” said Laurier women’s head coach Maurice Wilson. “It’s a much younger team, not quite as experienced, but there’s only one way to get experience and that’s go out and play the game and I thought they showed a lot of courage and skill this week.”
The Hawks managed to jump out to a 3-0 lead early, but would exchange points with the Ravens throughout the game. Going into the final end, Laurier led 6-5 without hammer.
After a couple short shots from both teams, Laurier skip Carly Howard tried to draw to the button to force the single and an extra end. However, her shot was heavy and sat on the back four, allowing Carleton’s Jamie Sinclair to draw for two.
“Carly’s last rock, if it stops two and a half inches shorter it’s perfect,” Wilson said. “It’s a game of just inches between victory and loss.”
“We definitely played better,” Howard said following thegame. “It was tough definitely … but it just came down to the last rock and the team made it. That’s all.”
Laurier finished 3-3 for the tournament, defeating the Ridgebacks, the Lakehead Thunderwolves and the Laurentian Voyagers.
Saturday night the Hawks were also plagued with illness, as Evangeline Fortier was hit with the stomach flu. She did not play Saturday night against Laurentian or Sunday afternoon against Carleton.
Wilson and Howard both emphasized that this year’s OUA championship was a learning experience for the newly molded Hawks. This is the first year that this set of players have played together.
“We have tons of time,” Howard said. “This was our first year together as a team so it was just an experience this year I think and see how far we could go.”
Second-year Howard serves as skip, while second-year lead Cheryl Kreviazuk, first-year second Fortier, and first-year vice Kerilynn Mathers.
However, despite following last year’s team, Wilson insists that having a target on their backs is just another factor in Laurier’s game.
“They’re still Laurier and we’ve had a lot of success in the last couple years,” he said. “[But] I kind of always look at it this way: we may have a target on our backs, being Laurier, but if they’re looking at the target on our backs they’re not looking at the target on the other end that they should be looking at. You just need to take advantage of it.”
“It doesn’t matter who came before you, you just have to play your own game and do as best as you can,” added Howard. “Whatever they did doesn’t matter right now and I have to try as best as I can.”
Men’s team finishes third in Pool B with win over Windsor
The men’s curling team finished off their round robin play Sunday afternoon with a 6-4 win over the Windsor Lancers. Despite Windsor jumping out to an early start, the Hawks were able to climb back with a big steal of three in the fourth end to take the lead.
“Today, the Windsor game, Windsor got out to a very good start,” said men’s head coach Gary Crossley. “They played exceptionally well. But [Laurier] maintained their composure and made some shots and started putting Windsor under a little pressure.”
With the win, Laurier finished the round robin with a 3-3 record — good enough for third place in their pool.
After a three-way tie was generated between Laurier, the Brock Badgers and the Toronto Varsity Blues, it came down to a round robin shootout to the button. Laurier was the closest.