‘Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t’

Zacharias says inexperience not a factor in tiebreaker loss at Scotties

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Mackenzie Zacharias is adamant a lack of execution and not inexperience proved to be her team’s undoing at the Canadian women’s curling championship in Thunder Bay.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/02/2022 (300 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mackenzie Zacharias is adamant a lack of execution and not inexperience proved to be her team’s undoing at the Canadian women’s curling championship in Thunder Bay.

The Altona team’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts journey came to a halt Friday morning after an 8-6 defeat to veteran Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories in a morning tie-breaker.

The 22-year-old skip, with third Karlee Burgess, sister and second Emily Zacharias, and lead Lauren Lenentine, gave up a count of three in the second end and two more in the fourth to fall into a 5-1 hole. They narrowed the gap and scored a three of their own in the ninth end but bowed out before Territories fourth player Jo-Ann Rizzo tossed her final rock.

ANDREW VAUGHAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS Manitoba skip Mackenzie Zacharias releases a rock as third Karlee Burgess (left) and second Emily Zacharias sweep during play at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Representing Manitoba, the Zacharias crew was in its second consecutive Scotties. A year ago, the 2020 world junior women’s champion earned a wild-card spot inside the Calgary bubble.

Still in their early 20s, the team was easily the youngest in the field. But Zacharias refuted a suggestion the team showed some growing pains in a pair of critical defeats.

“To be quite honest, I don’t think experience (was a factor). We kept our emotions in check, we knew exactly what to do and when. This is a team that’s trained hard and we what know we want,” she said, on a Zoom chat with reporters. “We’ve trained hard and we’ve been in positions like this before, and it just wasn’t our game (Friday). I think it’s the same as any other team here. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t.

“We’re definitely going to look at this event, reflect on it and see what we can do to be even better. I don’t think you saw our best this week. I for sure know you didn’t see our best this week. So, when we get the opportunity to come back here again — hopefully next year, we’ll see — then we’re going to come back firing even harder. We want to be on the podium.”

In Calgary, Zacharias went 3-5 to miss the championship round. At 5-3 this week, strides were taken at Fort William Gardens, although the team stumbled badly in its final round-robin game in Pool B play, squandering a 6-1 lead after four ends to Kerri Einarson of Gimli and eventually falling 10-7 Thursday night to two-time defending champion Team Canada.

The loss forced the need for a tie-breaker with Galusha, who qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 15 Scotties appearances.

Zacharias Mackenzie said she and her teammates were rattled but arose Friday with a clear mission in mind.

“This team is really good at parking it. It definitely sucks in the moment. That game was a tough one,” she said. “We were disappointed we couldn’t pull it off but we parked it after that. We came back (Friday morning) ready to go.”

Burgess is from Nova Scotia, while and Lenentine hails from the Prince Edward Island, although both studied in Manitoba while curling with the Zacharias sisters. Mackenzie Zacharias said there’s a commitment to keep the gang together for the long haul.

“I think we’re all very similar people with very similar goals, so I think when you have like-minded people that work really well together it pays off if you can stick together and work toward achieving those goals together,” she said.

Galusha said she fully expects the Zacharias foursome to carve out plenty of success in the coming seasons.

“I was talking (to teammates) and asking how old Mackenzie was, because that team is going to be really good. They’re going to win a lot of Scotties if they stick together. Fabulous team,” Galusha said. “We played them once this year in one of our ‘spiels in a quarter-final (of the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard) and they beat us, so we’re pretty familiar with them. Yeah, sometimes maybe strategy gets them but they’re sharp shooters and a great team.”

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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