In what may be one of the last national championships celebrated in Canada for the forseeable future, the Douglas College Royals achieved a rare prize.
The New Westminster-based women’s squad successfully repeated as the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s women’s curling champions, finishing the season last week just as other leagues and championships were shut down over the COVID-19 virus.
They defeated the Humber Hawks 10-1 in the final last Sunday in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
By defeating the Hawks, the Kyla MacMillan-skipped team achieved a rare double-double as two-time collegiate victor.
Jumping out to a quick 3-0 advantage in the opening frame, Douglas built up a comfortable 7-1 lead by the fifth end. A three-point steal in the sixth completed the rout.
Their spot in the final was a result of a 7-4 decision over Red Deer earlier in the day. It was a case of another strong start, as the Royals were in the clear 5-1 after five ends, and matched the Queens down the stretch.
The Royals lineup includes third Sarah Loken, second and vice-skip Patty Wallingham and lead Kylie Karoway. They are coached by Burnaby’s Daniel Wenzek. For MacMillan, Loken and Wallingham, it was a second successful trip to the national tourney.
Douglas, which trains at the Royal City Curling Club, posted a 6-1 record in the round robin, opening with a 5-2 victory over Northern Alberta. Red Deer handed them their first setback, a 9-8 in a nailbiter to start the second day, in a match that went to an extra end. The Royals rebounded with an 8-3 triumph over the Augustana Vikings.
They’d continue their good fortune by stopping Fanshawe 7-2 and Humber 11-4 on Day 3 of the competition.
A day later, Douglas was put on the defensive when the Sault Cougars lit out to a 6-0 lead after five ends. The Royals composed themselves and rallied, peeling off five points over the eighth and ninth ends to put them within striking distance. They completed the comeback with three in the 10th for a thrilling 9-7 win.
Wrapping up the round-robin, Douglas dropped Concordia 7-5 to advance to the semifinals.