Corryn Brown was pointing the finger at herself not long after her TRU WolfPack rink was bested in the U Sports Women’s Curling Championship final in Leduc, Alta., on Wednesday.
In a tearful, short phone call, the accomplished skip said key mistakes on her part led to Alberta steals in the fifth and sixth ends, errors that gave the Pandas two points and a lead they never relinquished in a 6-3 victory.
“It is a team game and I could have had different shots had other shots been made earlier in the end, but it’s just really tough when there are two key shots that were relatively easy that I didn’t even give my sweepers a chance on. Obviously, I wish I could take those back,” she said.
Worsening the blow was the realization the defeat marked the end of an era for the Brown rink.
Lead Sam Fisher will not curl competitively for the next two years, deciding to focus instead on her studies in respiratory therapy at TRU.
“It was really hard walking off the ice today,” Fisher said. “I threw my last two rocks the best I possibly could, knowing there was a good chance they were the last two rocks I’ll throw in a competitive game for a while. It’s hard, for sure.”
The Pandas have had the WolfPack’s number in the national final. Kelsey Rocque skipped them to victory over the Pack in the title tilt in 2015 and 2016, when Brown, Fisher, Pincott and Ashley Nordin were curling for TRU.
Kristen Streifel skipped the winning rink on Wednesday.
“We got caught on a few draws,” said Fisher, who was part of Team Brown when it placed fourth at university nationals in 2014. “They made a really nice shot in the fifth, a hit and roll to force us to one, and we ended up sailing it through the house. The ice was so different than it was yesterday.”
The Brown rink has been curling together for about 12 years, winning three B.C. titles and one national championship in the junior ranks.
Original member Sydney Fraser left the team after the 2015-2016 season. She was a fifth for the WolfPack at nationals in 2015.
The search for Fisher’s replacement will begin soon.
Brown, Fisher, third Erin Pincott and second Dezaray Hawes, along with coach Allison MacInnes, comprised the 2017-2018 Brown rink, which in its first season playing in the women’s ranks won bronze at the B.C. Scotties, the provincial championship, in January.
Winning a third silver medal at nationals capped what they may look back on as a successful campaign, but it was not much consolation to Brown on Wednesday.
“We fell short of most of our goals,” Brown said. “For us, it’s a bit of a failure. From the outside, it looks pretty successful.”
There will be no university championship trophy on the team mantle, as Brown and Pincott will graduate from TRU this year.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you go through it. Every time, it’s going to hurt. Every time, you want it just a little bit more,” Fisher said. “When you miss it by that much, it really stings.
“For me, it’s kind of taking a moment to believe that this is actually happening and my career is over for a couple years. I really just want the best for the girls moving forward.”
Fisher was named a first-team U Sports all-Canadian on Wednesday, while Brown and Pincott earned second-team honours.