St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School curlers were hoping for the championship win for the first time in three years of participating in the TimBits Elementary School Provincial Championship tournament. Yet, when a team falls as close to victory as they did on April 6, the initial bitterness of loss has a silver lining, notes coach Marc Bernard.
“We ended up losing in the last shot, which was a little tough to take on Sunday. We were looking back on it on Sunday and we went way farther than we thought we would, we definitely exceeded our goals for the tournament,” he said this week.
The St. Teresa team began its fight to the top after winning the tiebreaker game in their pool 3-1 and heading to the playoffs April 4-6, winning a close quarterfinal game. A big victory in the semifinals led them to face Parry Sound in the final game of the Gravenhurst-area tournament.
“We managed to go 3-1 in out pool, and that was enough to be tied with another team in our pool. We took the tie-breaker spot to be the pool winners. That was what we were hoping to do: reach the playoffs by winning the pool spot. Then the team started playing even better after that,” explained Bernard.
The finals had players face off with an older, more experienced team.
“We had two Grade 7s, a Grade 8 and a Grade 5 on our team. The Parry Sound students, I think three of the four were in Grade 8, for sure – they were a fair bit older. We tied after the sixth end of the game and we went to an extra end, and we ended up losing in the last shot.”
It was a hard loss to swallow seeing as how a victory would have immortalized the team on the wall of the Elmira Curling Club. It would have been a third championship banner for the club.
“Certainly it’s heartbreaking to go to the finals and to have a shot to win and not make it. To realize you are that close to being a provincial champion … definitely there was disappointment right after the game. But looking back on it now, we realize that to make it that far was a huge achievement,” he said.
To put things in perspective, this was the third year of the team’s existence, competing against 68 teams in the tournament. Last year’s team won two regular-season games and lost three, failing to qualify for playoffs. It was much the same in the first year, as well.
“Having a shot to get there is one thing; looking back over the tournament, [we] realize that if we hadn’t played so well we wouldn’t have had that opportunity,” said Bernard.
The team will lose its Grade 8 players to graduation next year, and coaches are hoping for new students to take their place.
“The kids just love it. They have such a great time at it,” he added.