January 27, 2013
Ottawa rink undefeated for second win
By STEVE GREEN, QMI Agency
WATERLOO, ONT. - Perfection is usually measured on a scale ending with 10. For Rachel Homan, it’s an 11.
The Ottawa CC skip and her rink of Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle won their second Ontario women’s curling title in three seasons Sunday, beating Mississauga’s Cathy Auld 7-3 at the K-W Granite Club in the final of the provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts. They advance to the national Hearts Feb. 16-24 in Kingston, looking to better their semifinal finish in Charlottetown in 2011.
In doing so, they went a perfect 11-0 this week. And it eased the sting of last year’s 7-6 loss to Tracy Horgan of Sudbury in last year’s final in Kenora, where the Ottawa foursome went undefeated until that last game.
They were the best team here this week and it showed against Auld as they made no major mistakes. The big break in an at-times defensive game came in the sixth when Auld was heavy on a draw against three, giving Homan a steal of three and complete control.
Homan said she could not pick which title was better.
“It’s just amazing to be able to go back to the nationals and I’m so proud of my team. They played amazing all week.
“We’ve matured a bit as a team and we’ve come a long way in the last three years. Today was a bit of a defensive game, but we were able to stay patient and wait for the big end.”
And Homan is more than eager to play for a national crown, basically in her back yard.
“We can’t wait. We’ve got a lot of fans and family who want to come and some had already bought tickets expecting us to be there. Now the rest of them can,” she said. “We’re really ready to try and go all the way this time and do what we know we can do.”
Auld, who finished second in the round-robin at 6-3 and got smoked 9-0 by Homan in five ends in Saturday’s 1-2 playoff game, admitted that one heavy draw was a turning point.
“There’s no guarantee that if I make that shot we go on and win,” she said. “Curling’s a game of inches and who knows where the game might have went.”
“They’re a great team, no doubt in my mind. We came here as one of the unknown teams and got to the final,” Auld said. “We had some hiccups along the way, but we were able to regroup as a team and move on.”
Auld and her rink of Janet Murphy, Stephanie Matheson and Melissa Foster rolled into the final with a 10-4 rout of Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater in the semifinal Sunday morning.
Auld and her teammates were almost flawless with their decision-making and rock placement, while Middaugh’s rink of Jo-Ann Rizzo, Lee Merklinger and Leigh Armstrong struggled, often leaving Middaugh with difficult shots. And while Middaugh did pull off a great triple raise takeout for a deuce to tie the game 2-2 in the third, Auld made a great freeze onto her own in the fifth that set up a steal of two and a 6-2 lead. From that point, there was only going to be one winner.
“I think we did get lucky with some misses by their team,” said Auld. “And Janet made two peach freezes in that fifth end. If she doesn’t do that, we’re in a lot of trouble.”
Middaugh admitted her team wasn’t at the races on this occasion.
“My gosh, yes,” she said when it was suggested her rink had an off day. “They curled very well and we didn’t quite get off to the start we wanted. And sometimes, when you’re not firing and the shots get tougher, you get tired and you want to simplify things. But when you get behind like that, you can’t simplify.”