For the second consecutive weekend, Team Galusha met up with Hollie Duncan of Ontario to decide the winner of a cash-spiel in Ontario.
This time, the script was flipped.
Galusha and company came out on top this go-round in the final of the KW Fall Classic in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., on Sunday evening by beating Duncan, 13-7. The victory was worth $3,400 and doubled the team’s championship count on the World Curling Tour circuit to two, the first one coming in 2018 at the Royal LePage Fall Women’s Classic.
Shona Barbour, who played and coached the team on the weekend, said winning was great but two finals in two weekends was an even more impressive result.
“You can’t ask for more than that,” she said.
The ladies began in the round-robin on Friday with the top two from each of the four pools advancing to the playoff round. They ended up finishing atop their division with three wins coming at the expense of Heather Heggestad of Ontario (6-4), Danielle Inglis of Ontario (10-0) and Kaitlyn Jewer (6-2). The lone blemish was inflicted by Parker Doig of Ontario, an 8-7 defeat.
The original plan, said Barbour, was to not sit around and get some more games in but the plan definitely didn’t include playing three games on championship Sunday.
“We didn’t plan on that,” she said. “We just kept gaining momemtum with every game and we’re a tired bunch but there was no changing gears.”
Galusha and Inglis would meet in the quarter-final with Galusha having the hammer to start out. They would score a single in the first end and followed up with a steal of one in the second before Inglis answered with a single in the third. Galusha scored another single in the fourth and then stole again in the fifth and sixth ends to take a 5-1 lead. Inglis scored a deuce in the seventh but Galusha ran Inglis out of rocks in the eighth to win, 5-3, and advance to the semifinal to square off with Isabelle Ladouceur of Ontario.
Ladouceur would have the hammer to start out in the semifinal but it would be Team Galusha that would open the scoring by stealing two in the opening end to take an early 2-0 lead. Ladouceur would score a single in the second, which was answered by Galusha and company in the third with a three-spot to go up, 5-1. Another single by Ladouceur in the fourth was followed by three more from Team Galusha in the fifth and that was enough for Ladouceur to shake hands and give Team Galusha an 8-2 win.
In the final, Duncan would start with the hammer but Team Galusha once again stole to open the game, a single to draw first blood in the opening end. The two rinks then traded deuces through ends two through five before Duncan put up three in the sixth with the hammer to lead 7-5.
The dagger, though, came in the seventh as Jo-Ann Rizzo, who was throwing skip stones for the ladies in the final, converted on an open hit for five as Team Galusha went back up, 10-7. The ladies then stole another three in the eighth end to put the cherry on top and collect the trophy.
“We knew we had to bounce back with a big end,” said Barbour. “I set us up pretty good to get the ball rolling in the seventh for that big end and it was good to come home with the lead. They tried a Hail Mary on their last rock in the eighth but it over-curled. You still have to give it a try, though.”
Getting a win under their belts early in the season is a big boost, said Barbour, and it’s all part of a plan that was first put in place in August.
“Every day has a plan and it’s all part of a schedule,” she said. “Each day gets an X when it’s done and it feels a bit like we’re heading into Christmas with all of the X’s but it takes up one step closer to Ottawa. We’ve been following the script and we just hope the plan keeps working.”
Next up for the ladies is that Ottawa stop Barbour mentioned for the Canadian Curling Pre-Trials Direct Entry spiel, which kicks off on Wednesday. The ladies will be in action on opening day against Sarah Wark of B.C.
Barbour said the goal is to get a bit of rest and then hit the ice on Tuesday for some practice.
Galusha didn’t play in the final so as to rest her injured back but she said she will be ready for Ottawa.
“I’m proud of the way the ladies played,” she said. “They had to play without me out there but battled through it and we got another great result.”