Win prepares Hawks

The Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship is one of the only things on Carly Howard’s mind.

The third-year skip for the Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling team led the Hawks to a 5-0 performance at the Brock Invitational bonspiel last weekend, claiming first place.

And with a solid, strong performance from her and her team, she is looking forward to the chance of claiming the OUA championship.

“We’ve been practicing non-stop since [the beginning of] last semester and every time we go out to practice, we work on different stuff and it’s certainly helped prepare us for OUAs,” Howard said.

Laurier’s women’s team went into the two-day tournament in St. Catharines opening with three consecutive wins.

The Hawks defeated the defending OUA champions, the Western Mustangs, 8-2 in their opener, and then won against the Trent Excalibur and McMaster Marauders 6-1 and 12-4, respectively.

Laurier opened Sunday with a 6-2 win over the UOIT Ridgebacks to advance to the final, where they handily defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 7-0 to claim the tournament.

“They went 5-0 in the five games they played so obviously that’s quite a positive indication of where they are in terms of their development,” head coach Gary Crossley said.

“It’s certainly a better performance than last year — remarkably better performance. And we’re really looking forward to the OUAs, which are coming up in a couple of weeks.”

The men’s team finished third in the Brock Invitational, defeating Laurier’s junior varsity team for third place.

Howard and her rink, which includes third Kerilynn Mathers, second Evangeline Fortier and lead Cheryl Kreviazuk, outscored their opponents 39-9 over two days and five games.

“I’d like to think certainly that they’re a better team [than last year],” Crossley said. “We didn’t lose any players, so we have the exact same lineup back and they’re all a year older and their skill level a little bit higher.”

With a win at their only tournament before heading to the OUA championship in Guelph, Howard feels the win will help the team stay focused on their final goal.

“Coming off a loss like that and going into OUAs was a lot harder and we were worried about how we were going to perform,” she said. “This time, we came out with so much confidence in ourselves and our abilities. We came out with a good start and we just kept rolling with it and we’re just going to roll right into OUAs with that mentality.”

Last year at the OUA championships, Laurier’s women’s team finished 3-3 in pool play, finishing fifth in Pool A and failing to advance to playoffs.

But Howard and her team believe they have the ability to come out with a good result in the 2014 campaign.

“Our goal is to win it. Especially coming off this weekend, we realized we’re one of the top teams,” she said. “There are some teams that are definitely out there to get us with winning this weekend. I definitely think we can win it. I have a team behind me that has unbelievable players and I think with the four of us we can definitely win it.”

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