Story by: Alan Emiry
After curling well at the North Shore school competition the EHS girls curling team advanced on to the NOSSA (Northern Ontario Secondary School Association) competition taking place at the Granite Club in Sturgeon Falls on Feb. 27-28.
With eight teams from across the region present, the team competed at a high level in the round-robin play. They lost their opening game to the White Pines Wolverines by a score of 7-6 coming down to the final shot of the eighth end.
To advance to the playoff round they couldn’t lose another game. The team was resilient and finished the first day of competition controlling the game against the St. Charles Cardinals out of Sudbury and went into the eighth end with a three point lead.
Things don’t always go as planned and with the St. Charles skip’s last shot she attempted to remove one of Espanola’s rocks sitting on the button half buried. If she made the take out St. Charles would score four and win the game. The shot was a little inside and crashed on the guard giving the Spartans a big victory.
The next morning saw EHS facing the hometown Franco Cite Patriotes. The girls came out with an outstanding performance and a convincing win 13-1 sending them into a semi-final game against a well-known opponent from Blind River, WC Eaket Royals.
Having played against each other three times this year, they knew they were in for a battle, but came into the game more prepared than ever before.
With the hammer Blind River scored a single point in the first end. The second end turned into a disaster and ended with another five points for the Royals taking a huge 6-0 lead.
In an effort to spark the team, Whitney Podlatis was substituted into the game and the team responded turning their game around and scoring single points in the third and fourth ends. The team kept up some stellar play and, in the fifth end, with a mess of rocks out front of the house, Maddy Soltys made an outstanding angle run back with her last shot to stick her rock on the four foot to score another point.
With the whole Spartan team performing well they again put the pressure on in the sixth end and managed to steal another point drawing within just 2 points of the Royals.
A well-played seventh end saw the Spartans sitting three in the four-foot forcing the Blind River skip to a last shot to the button to score a point.
The score was now 7-4 for the Royals, but the girls focused on the task and all made almost perfect shots, and it came down to a last shot by Maddy once again.
Some good hard sweeping by Cori Garcia and Whitney Podlatis and the shot was executed to perfection tapping one of their own rocks into the four foot for the third point needed to tie the game up at seven after eight ends, resulting in an extra end to be played.
With a crowd excited about the big come back and coaches nervously watching, the final end began with Spartans making shots. Whitney put two great guards in play and then Cori sunk a draw around one of the guards at the top of the button. With some of the guards getting jiggled around on the next couple shots, Blind River was able to throw a take out through a port and remove the Espanola rock and sit with their own partly buried half in the four foot.
Taking a time out, the Spartans decided to try to draw around several guards and the Blind River rock sitting at the top of the four foot and attempt to sit for shot rock near the button.
Faith Emiry delivered the stone with accuracy and with the sweepers working hard came around all the guards but just ended up an inch or two short of being shot rock.
Blind River closed down the path with a couple more guards leaving the Spartans with another difficult angle run back to attempt to remove the Royals’ shot stone. The crowd was excited and the coaches were more anxious than ever before as the Spartans final shot came down the ice.
Unfortunately, with all the guards in play the delivered stone crashed out front and the game was over.
Blind River Royals won 8-7 over the Spartans. The Royals went on to victory in the final game with ease to advance to the (OFSSA) play downs in North Bay.
Coaches Alan Emiry and Tammy Sheppard could not be any more proud of the team: Faith Emiry, Maddy Soltys, Cori Garcia, Whitney Podlatis, Molly Gallant and Nicole Shank.
They represented the school with not only outstanding play, but also amazing growth, perseverance and teamwork. To Faith, Maddy, Cori and Whitney who will all be graduating and moving on, they came such a long way since the first games they played in Grade 9. Congratulations for a fantastic showing.
In an earlier version of this story, it had been attributed to Patricia Dorhan.
Howerver, the author of the story was Alan Emiry.
The Mid-North Monitor apologizes for this error.