Women’s curling cruises to semifinal at OUA championships

GUELPH, Ont. — The Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling team is in a little bit of a different situation this year.

(Photo by Heather Davidson)
(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Last year, the Hawks were fighting for that quarterfinal spot at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, coming down for a final round robin game against the Carleton Ravens.

They finished third in their pool and did not advance to the semifinal.

This year, Laurier sits comfortably atop their pool with a perfect 6-0 record at the end of the round robin Sunday morning, after a commanding 5-3 win over the Windsor Lancers.

“We played well enough to win,” said Maurice Wilson, assistant coach of the Laurier curling program. “I wouldn’t say it was one of our stellar efforts today, but the game didn’t mean anything to us in terms of standings. We just wanted to make sure we had good habits and good habits going.”

In an early morning game that had no implications on the standings, Laurier got out to a good start, grabbing two points at the end of the first end.

For the next four ends, Laurier and Windsor would exchange points, with the Hawks hanging on to a one-point lead. The ice turned out to be trouble for both Windsor and Laurier, with the Lancers sending their rocks passed the hog line and the Hawks throwing too light and too tight.

“The ice was super tricky,” Laurier third-year skip Carly Howard said. “Every other game, the ice was perfect. We knew just what to throw. But then this game, it’s way colder, which means the ice is going to be a lot slower.”

In the fifth end, Windsor’s skip Kim Curtin was a little short on her draw, giving Laurier a steal of one and a three-point lead heading into the sixth end.

Windsor picked up a single after a great guard by Laurier’s skip Carly Howard, but ran out of rocks in the eighth to secure the Hawk victory.

Another big issue for Laurier last year were the health issues that they faced. Vice Kerilynn Mathers became ill for the later half of the OUA championship and the majority of the girls dealt with the flu, which hindered their performance.

This year, the Hawks took extra measures to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

“I think the biggest problem we had last year was keeping people healthy. The flu was going through and health issues. And this year we’ve managed to take a few precautions and keep everybody healthy to the point we’re using hand sanitizer and cleaning rocks before each game,” said Wilson.

“We’re taking every precaution to keep everyone healthy and it’s been working so far. Knock on wood,” he laughed.

Laurier’s women’s curling team is off until Monday morning when they’ll play in the OUA semifinal against tonight’s winner in the quarterfinal. Laurier’s men’s team will play in their final draw at 12 p.m. today. A win will send them to the semifinals with the women tomorrow morning, while a loss sends them to the quarterfinal tonight at 7 p.m.

“You just keep going. You know that [this year] you have so much more determination to win,” Howard said. “… And also staying mentally focused. So every game, we give 100 per cent, make sure we win every game, and just keep going forward with that.”

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