Team Galusha hit the pay window again during their latest stop down south.

But, internally, there was a belief that the final result should have been a lot different.

Fresh off their semifinal showing at the HearingLife Tour Challenge in Grande Prairie, Alta., the weekend before, Kerry Galusha and her rink of Jo-Ann Rizzo, Sarah Koltun and Margot Flemming were on the ice in Kemptville, Ont., for the North Grenville Fall Curling Classic this past weekend and managed to reach the quarter-finals. That’s as far as they got as they dropped a 4-3 decision to Danielle Inglis of Ontario.

It’s an event that Galusha won in 2018 when it was known as the Royal LePage Fall Women’s Classic.

The ladies began the triple-knockout event in the A bracket on Oct. 27, where they took on Christine McMakin of North Dakota in their opening contest. A 9-2 win put them into the next round against Laurie St. Georges of Quebec and that, too, was a tick in the win column, 5-3.

Galusha said the ladies were firing on all cylinders in the early going.

“Laurie is one of the top teams from Quebec — she’s usually at the Scotties,” she said. “We knew it would be a tough field, but we played really well in the early going.”

Their next game was against Sarah Anderson of Minnesota and a win would put them through to the playoffs, but a 6-5 loss saw them drop down to the B bracket.

“That game could have gone either way, but Sarah was really good,” said Galusha. “They had the hammer coming home and she made a nice shot to win it.”

Because they advanced as far as they did in the A bracket, that meant the ladies wouldn’t have to go through the entire B bracket to move on. They took on Emily Deschenes of Ottawa on Saturday with a playoff spot going to the winner and Galusha would get the win, 8-5, to book her team’s place in the final eight.

“If we lost, it would have been a three-game day, but we had the evening to rest,” said Galusha.


The quarter-final was one which Galusha described as “disappointing” — Inglis opened with the hammer and scored a single, which was answered in the second end to tie it up at 1-1. The third end was blanked before Inglis scored another single in the fourth to go back out in front. Galusha got that back in the fifth, but Inglis scored another single in the sixth, and then stole a single in the seventh to take a 4-2 lead. Galusha had the hammer coming home, but could only get one to spell the end.

Galusha said the win was there to be had.

“We’re disappointed with that one,” she said. “We would have won if we had played better, but it was a game where hammer (last rock) didn’t matter. Both skips were bailing their teams out every time and there weren’t any multiple-point chances for either team, which is strange because our games are usually a lot higher-scoring. We just weren’t super sharp and we didn’t make the right shots when we needed to.”

It’s another $2,000 in the team’s bank account for reaching the final eight, but Galusha felt as if the chance to win it all again was there for the taking.

“I feel like we were better than we were when we won in 2018,” she said. “Getting to the quarter-final isn’t too shabby, but I think we could have gotten to the final.”

Galusha and company now have a couple of weeks off before hitting the road again to Red Deer, Alta., for the Prism Flow Red Deer Curling Classic beginning on Nov. 18. That event is one of the bigger spiels on the tour with a $35,000 purse up for grabs. Kevin Koe, Galusha’s older brother, will be part of the men’s draw, but he won’t be coaching the Galusha crew as he did in Grande Prairie.

Yes, Koe stepped in that week in place of Shona Barbour, the team’s regular head coach, as she wasn’t able to make it to that event.

And it wasn’t simply big brother helping out little sister either, said Galusha.

“We were hanging out at the PointsBet event in New Brunswick (in September) and we asked him if he could work with us in Grande Prairie if the schedules didn’t conflict,” she said. “He told us to write up an official proposal with what we wanted to focus on, what we needed to improve, and so we made up a list and sent it to him.”

Koe sat in on games when he wasn’t practising or playing, and Galusha said her brother was full of useful knowledge.

“He was giving us tips and comments we had never heard before,” she said. “We weren’t sure how it would go, but he was really knowledgeable and it was really good having him work with us and ask his opinion on things.”

When it comes time to head to Red Deer, the entire team will be there, including Barbour and Megan Koehler, the team’s fifth.

“We’ll cycle Megan into the line-up and that will give us a break,” said Galusha. “I’m looking forward to it — it’s going to be a tough one. The field is similar to the one we had in Edmonton (in September).”

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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