Kerry Galusha and her rink went into the Crestwood Ladies Fall Classic in Edmonton this past weekend riding the highest of highs.
They had just come off winning their first World Curling Tour event as a team, that being the Royal LePage Ladies Fall Classic in Ontario the weekend before.
Edmonton, though? Not so much and there’s a good reason why.
Galusha and her rink of Sarah Koltun, Brittany Tran and Shona Barbour failed to make the playoffs this past weekend, finishing the round-robin with a record of one win and three losses but it very nearly could have been no result at all.
Galusha said getting to the rink on the Friday morning was a rather painful adventure.
“Edmonton had freezing rain and I ran out to start the car, not knowing the ground was icy,” she said. “I ended up falling on my back and bounced down about three stairs and it knocked the wind out of me.”
Galusha ended up with a badly-bruised back after the fall but she and the rest of the team managed to get to the rink on time.
Galusha and company started out against Rhonda Varnes of Alberta in their opener and dropped an 8-4 decision. Varner stole the game’s first three points, which Galusha got back to tie the game at 3-3 at the mid-point break, but Varner scored two in the fifth end and three more in the seventh to seal the deal.
Game two was against Karynn Flory of Edmonton and it was all Flory as Galusha was shut out, 10-0. The worst part? Flory stole every single one of her 10 points.
“The game against Flory was an example of a game where nothing goes right,” said Galusha. “It was our worst game of the season and it happens but it was just terrible.”
Galusha got off on the right foot in her third game against Selena Sturmay of Edmonton as she came out with a 7-3 victory. This time, it was Galusha who did the pilfering as she stole the game’s first three points in the first three ends before Sturmay came back with a deuce in the fourth. Galusha salted things away in the seventh end with the hammer as she scored three.
The final round-robin game was a must-win as Galusha took on Krysta Hilker of Edmonton. Hilker scored a deuce in the first end with the hammer, but Galusha answered in kind in the third with a deuce of her own and a steal of one in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Hilker scored three in the fifth end, which Galusha countered with a deuce in the sixth, followed by another deuce for Hilker in the seventh.
Galusha needed to score two in the final end to force an extra end but Hilker stole a single to win, 8-5, and keep Galusha on the outside looking in.
Had Galusha won that last game, it would have meant a spot in the quarter-finals, even after a miserable start the day before, but she said it just wasn’t meant to be.
“Our coach (Jon Epping) told us this could happen,” she said. “We just weren’t as sound as we were in Ontario and we were probably still tired a bit mentally from that weekend. We aren’t used to travelling so much, even though Edmonton was closer than Ontario, but we learned a lot. Jon just told us to keep doing the right things.”
Red Deer, Alta., is where Galusha and company will be playing this coming weekend as they hit the ice for the Red Deer Curling Classic for the biggest cashspiel of the season for the rink to date. Galusha will be one of 28 teams on the women’s side and they will be playing for a total of $35,000 in prize money.
“This will be out toughest competition by far,” said Galusha. “We get three guaranteed games and our goal is to qualify for the playoffs. The teams were tough in Ontario but there’s teams like (Casey) Scheidegger and she’s a Grand Slam team so it’s going to be tough.”
Galusha’s brother, Jamie Koe, will also be in action in Red Deer as he skips a team on the men’s side that includes Ryan Fry, the third for Brier and Olympic champion Brad Jacobs.
Koe said it’s just a one-time deal and not anything permanent.