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Team McCarville already looking ahead to 2024

Finishing third at this year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts brought mixed emotions for the team, which has medaled four times in the past 13 years, but has yet to win gold.
Team McCarville Silver
Team Northern Ontario, skip Krista McCarville, third Kendra Lilly, Second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts, fifth Jen Gates, coach Rick Lang, second-place finishers in the championship final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Fort William Gardens on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022. (Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

THUNDER BAY — After earning Scotties bronze and just missing out on a return to the championship final, Krista McCarville and Sarah Potts remain optimistic about the team’s future going forward.

It’s early, McCarville said, upon her return to Thunder Bay after yet another lengthy run at the national women’s curling championship in Kamloops, B.C.

“We’re really proud of our performance there, but obviously we were going to play for the gold. Coming back with the bronze is something that we are proud of, but we’re going to work a little bit harder to try to get that next year,” McCarville said.

“We will have to sit down and talk as a team, but we played really well. We didn’t bring our best game in the playoffs, so that’s something we need to talk about, doing something to bring our performance up during the playoffs, because that’s where we struggled a bit.”

Team Northern Ontario, which also includes second Ashley Sippala and third Kendra Lilly, who lives in Sudbury full-time, only lost three times the entire week, but the final two losses came at the worst times.

“We’re happy with our performance, especially early in the week. To win our pool was great, but we’re disappointed how it ended and our performance in the playoffs wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” said Potts, named a first-team all-star at this year’s Scotties.

“In the playoffs, the ice changed a little bit, not that that’s an excuse, but we struggled to adjust. Both teams had to and unfortunately, we were a little slower at it. That made it tough. It was a struggle all week for a lot of teams. We had a good feel early on, and then for some reason we kind of lost it at the end."

While it’s been tough getting practice time together as a full unit — the team famously says it has no interest in playing the curling circuit full-time because of family and work commitments — it’s a formula that seems to work.

“We’d really like to (stay together),” McCarville said, noting there may be a pretty big incentive on the horizon.

“We know that the 2025 Scotties is (probably) going to be hosted here in Thunder Bay, so we’d definitely love to be wearing the Maple Leaf in 2025. That means winning it next year.”

McCarville and company dropped an 8-5 decision to six-time champion Jennifer Jones in the 1-2 Page playoff, then fell 7-5 to eventual champion Kerry Einarson in Sunday’s semifinal.

Their only other loss, during round-robin play, came at the hands of Ontario champion and three-time Scotties winner Rachel Homan.

The veteran skip said it’s too soon to dissect what went wrong down the stretch.

“We’ll probably look back, in time, let it sink in a little and go through the videos to look at it, see where we maybe went wrong,” she said.

McCarville, who has 10 Scotties appearances under her belt, had also previously claimed bronze in 2010, and silver in 2016 and 2022.

The 2024 Scotties will be held in Calgary.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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