Just a shot earlier, Hollie Vincent had ticked a guard.
In the opening draw of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Curling Championships at the Pidherney Centre, the RDC Queens skip needed to summon something special to earn a win over the NAIT Ooks.
With last rock, trailing 6-5, the Queens were already sitting one and needed to bump an Ooks stone beyond the eight-foot to score two and pick up a win.
Vincent said she wasn’t entirely confident she could make the shot, but coach Eldon Raab gave some words of encouragement to the skip in a timeout and she executed it perfectly to pick up the victory.
“I just wasn’t very confident because it had been running a little straighter on that side. I wasn’t sure it was there, I guess coach is always right,” said the second year skip with a chuckle.
“I called on our outside sweeper, so I panicked a little bit, so yeah, very relieved when we got by.”
The Queens fell behind 2-0 in the first end, but rallied through the middle of the game and had a 5-4 lead after some cleaver shot-making in the sixth end. NAIT battled back, taking two on a measurement in the seventh before the Queens snagged the win in the eighth.
Considering the Queens, featuring Emily Plett (Manitoba), second Erica Watts (Red Deer) and lead Jaycee Bourke (Red Deer), haven’t played an ACAC game in almost five-weeks, getting out to a good start, making tough shots was crucial for their confidence.
“I think it’s really big, we work really well off of momentum, so to get a win off the start could pay off down the road, hopefully, we’re able to keep it going (Saturday),” Vincent said.
In the other Women’s division game, the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder knocked off the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings 10-8.
In the men’s draw, the Lakeland College Rustlers beat the Vikings 6-5, while the SAIT Trojans edged the Ooks 5-4. In the mixed division, the MacEwan University Griffins won 8-7 over the Ooks and Rustlers beat the Vikings 9-4.
At the ACAC Curling Championship Banquet Friday night, Vincent and Plett were named to the ACAC All-Conference team.
“Hollie moved from third to skip and has made a smooth transition,” said RDC Curling coach Brad Hamilton. “She has made numerous clutch shots and has done an excellent job managing the strategy this year.”
Plett, who plays third, has been a remarkable recruit for the 2019-20 Queens, making a positive impact in her inaugural season.
“We are very excited to have Emily join us this year and she has fit in extremely well,” states Hamilton. “In only her first year, she has adjusted very quickly to curling in the ACAC.”
Draw 2 of the championships is 10 a.m. Saturday morning, with draw 3 at 2 p.m.