Team Galusha starts another busy season in Ontario

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The 2019-2020 World Curling Tour curling season will be another busy one for Team Galusha.

Only difference from last season is it started a bit earlier this season as skip Kerry Galusha, Sarah Koltun, Shona Barbour and Jo Ann Rizzo, the team’s new second for this season, were in Oakville, Ont., this past weekend for the StuSells Oakville Tankard.

Galusha’s rink ended up with a record one win and three losses, missing out on the playoffs, but the chances to battle for a playoff spot were there.

Kerry Galusha, seen during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this past February, was back out on the road with her rink of Sarah Koltun, Shona Barbour and Jo Ann Rizzo, the team's new second, to play in the StuSells Oakville Tankard in Oakville, Ont., which wrapped up this past Sunday. Andrew Klaver/Curling Canada photo
Kerry Galusha, seen during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this past February, was back out on the road with her rink of Sarah Koltun, Shona Barbour and Jo Ann Rizzo, the team’s new second, to play in the StuSells Oakville Tankard in Oakville, Ont., which wrapped up this past Sunday.
Andrew Klaver/Curling Canada photo

Galusha started out against Ontario’s Jestyn Murphy and ended up on the wrong end of a 9-3 decision but it was the dreaded one bad end which cost them down the stretch.

“We had them on the ropes but we had a bad seventh end,” said Galusha. “We just didn’t execute and it cost us.”

Indeed, the game was tied at 3-3 after six as Galusha stole a single to knot things up but Murphy ended up scoring six in the seventh to salt the game away. The team also had to play with a spare as Koltun was unable to make it in time to play the opener.

The ladies hit the win column in game two thanks to an 8-3 victory over Rachel Steele of Ontario, the big moment coming in the fifth end as Galusha put up a five-spot to take control.

Games three and four were the disappointments, if they were to be had, as Galusha described both as ones in which they controlled but ended up losing focus.

Game three versus Danielle Inglis of Ontario seemed to be all Galusha as she led 8-3 after five ends, putting up four in the fifth to take control. Inglis scored three in the sixth, followed by a steal of two in the seventh and a stolen single in the eighth to stun Galusha, 9-8.

Game four against Sierra Sutherland saw Galusha leading 4-2 after five only to have Sutherland score a deuce in six to tie the game at 4-4. Sutherland then stole two in the seventh to take a 6-4 lead and that’s how it ended up as Galusha shook hands near the end of the eighth end.

“We had bad sixth through eighth ends in both of those,” said Galusha. “The other teams were making their shots and we just lost our focus. That’s something we’ll learn as the season goes on and it proves that no lead is safe with the five-rock rule.”

The five-rock rule, which is in play for all World Curling Tour events, states that no rock in front of the rings can be removed until five rocks have been thrown in an end. If a rock ends up going into the house, it can be removed at any time.

If you think Galusha is down after losing two close games, you’d be mistaken.

She said the wins and losses at this point in the season are no problem.

“Our coach (Jon Epping) said it doesn’t matter if we go winless right now,” she said. “It’s all about working together and building. We worked with our sport psychologist, we had a practice with Jon and talked about our problems. The losses don’t matter right now because our goal is to peak by the (NWT) playdowns.”

The playdowns are happening in Hay River in January with the winner of that advancing to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., in February.

There’s no rest for the weary as Galusha and company are in Cornwall, Ont., for the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic and game one is Wednesday night against none other than Rachel Homan, one of the best skips in the game.

“It might be the best time to play them because this is their first spiel of the season,” said Galusha.

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