Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Youth vs. experience as Ontario, Nova Scotia in 3-4 playoff

Homan, 21, takes on veteran Smith-Dacey

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CHARLOTTETOWN -- Ontario's Rachel Homan will head into today's 3 vs. 4 Page playoff game against Nova Scotia with something that sounds like a combination of both gratitude and wonder.

"We're definitely really happy that we made it this far. This was our goal and we achieved our goal to make the playoffs," Homan said Friday. "We're really proud of ourselves for that and I'm proud of my team for pulling through when we had a bit of an injury. And we made it into the playoffs with that.

"It doesn't matter the result. We're going to try our hardest for sure. But if doesn't go well, we're still happy."

She has, of course, plenty to be happy about. Homan won the 2010 Canadian juniors and at the tender age of 21 is widely considered the most-promising young skip in the Canadian women's game today.

She has two of her junior teammates with her here this week -- third Emma Miskew, 21 and second Alison Kreviazuk, 22. The senior statesman on the rink is 25-year-old Lisa Weagle, who was the subject of that injury Homan mentions.

Weagle pinched a nerve in her shoulder mid-week and had to miss one game. After opening at 5-0, the Ontario foursome lost three of four games, but then bounced back with two critical wins on Thursday to finish the round-robin at 8-3 and advance to today's 3-4 game against Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Dacey (TSN, 10 a.m.).

Nova Scotia had to take a more difficult path to today, needing to defeat BC's Kelly Scott 9-8 in a playoff tiebreaker Friday afternoon to claim the fourth and final playoff spot.

With the winner of Ontario-Nova Scotia advancing to tonight's semifinal against Saskatchewan, while the loser is eliminated, the game comes with huge stakes for both women.

Smith-Dacey, 38, has been around competitive curling for two decades, while Homan is still almost a raw rookie. But both women are describing today's game as one of the biggest of their lives.

"We worked hard and this was our goal and we're a little surprised I guess to be here so soon," Homan said.

"Just like any game, I'm a bit nervous. I think it's good nerves. I'm excited to play and hopefully it's a long day for us."

"Oh, gosh, it's one of the biggest for me, too.," said Smith-Dacey. "I'm at a different stage in my life, obviously, with children, businesses and all that stuff. But certainly it's an honour and a privilege, and we're just thrilled to be in this position."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 26, 2011 D1

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