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Defending champ Homan loses again at Canadian Curling trials

Team Homan Rachel Homan against Team McCarville during Draw 3 of the 2021 Canadian Olympic curling trials in Saskatoon, Sunday, November 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards. Liam Richards / The Canadian Press

SASKATOON – Early losses to the bottom two seeds at Canada’s Olympic curling trials have put defending women’s champion Rachel Homan in a tough spot at the SaskTel Centre.

After falling to Jacqueline Harrison in the round-robin opener, Homan dropped a 9-5 decision to Krista McCarville on Sunday that left her in an 0-2 hole with the tournament’s big guns still to come.

“You can’t really think about an 0-2 (start) versus anything else,” said Homan’s third Emma Miskew. “I know there’s a ton of great teams here. So teams are going to lose and teams can beat each other. We just have to do what we can control.”

Homan had some time to reset after the rough start. She’s not back on the ice until Monday night against Kelsey Rocque.

A murderers’ row of Canadian women’s curling talent awaits later in the week.

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Still to come are 2014 Olympic champion Jennifer Jones, world No. 1 Tracy Fleury, two-time reigning national champion Kerri Einarson, along with Laura Walker and Casey Scheidegger.

“It’s not the start we wanted but you never go into any bonspiel wanting to go 0-2,” Homan’s coach Marcel Rocque said.

“So I guess in a regular triple-knockout we’re in the C (draw). You lose one more and maybe you go home. But maybe you get a tiebreaker here.”

Homan, who shot a game-low 64 per cent, saw her first stone in the fourth end overcurl to set up a McCarville draw for three.

After a solid opening half, McCarville made a few errors herself in the second half of the game.

The skip took out her own stone on a deuce attempt in the sixth end, missed a double takeout in the seventh and settled for a single on a draw for two in the ninth.

However, McCarville, who threw 74 per cent, came though when it mattered most. Her takeout with her final shot in the 10th end left Homan a nearly impossible triple-takeout attempt.

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The miss gave McCarville (1-1) a steal of two and the win.

“The ice was tricky today,” said McCarville’s vice Kendra Lilly. “It wasn’t automatic. We were just trying to make the best of every shot.”

It’s possible a 5-3 record makes the three-team cut for the weekend’s playoffs.

Jones slipped in at 5-3 at the 2017 trials in Ottawa and Mike McEwen did the same in the men’s draw, although neither rink had to overcome an 0-2 start.

“You can’t worry about the end of the week,” Marcel Rocque said. “You’ve got to worry about the next game.”

In other games, Jones improved to 2-0 with a 10-2 rout of Harrison (1-1) and Einarson moved to 1-1 with a 10-5 victory over Scheidegger (1-1). Walker (1-1) posted a 9-3 win over Kelsey Rocque (0-1) in the other early matchup.

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A men’s draw was scheduled for Sunday afternoon with the women returning to the ice in the evening.

Round-robin play continues through Friday night and the finals are set for Nov. 28.

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The winners of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials will wear the Maple Leaf in February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Homan beat Chelsea Carey in the 2017 trials final, but missed the podium in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Kevin Koe skipped Canada’s men in South Korea and was also held without a medal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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