By Martin Cleary
If medals were awarded for sports marketing on social media, Team Homan would be a logical candidate for a spot on the podium.
Once Ottawa’s Rachel Homan had finalized her team for the current Olympic quadrennial by adding noted skip Tracy Fleury, who calls the games but throws third rocks, and moving Emma Miskew and Sarah Wilkes to the front end (second and lead respectively), it was time for team building and a variety of hilarious TikTok challenges.
In one segment, Team Homan was encouraged to take a less serious approach by continuously smiling coming out of the hack and holding it until releasing the rock. Another time, it was involved in an activity that involved playfully slapping each other with tortillas and laughing endlessly.
Team Homan has used social media to showcase its many sponsors, for obvious reasons, but connecting with the community and dealing with issues of today also are major roles for these young, high-profile athletes.
When one of its super fans lost his major mode of transportation, Team Homan put three autographed jerseys up for auction to help him replace his stolen bicycle. Team Homan also donated the proceeds from the sale of team T-shirts to Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand in relation to the recent James Smith Cree Nation tragedy.
When Team Homan isn’t on the ice training or competing, it just likes to have off-beat fun to bring balance to their high-performance athletic lives. That theme continued Sunday, after Team Homan won the Hearing Life Tour Challenge Grand Slam event in Grande Prairie, AB.
Entering last week’s Grand Slam of Curling event, Fleury suggested to her teammates, if Team Homan won the women’s event, it should head to the neighbouring shopping mall and celebrate by riding the electric plush animals up and down the main corridor.
Shortly after Team Homan posted an 8-4 win over Kerri Einarson of Gimli, MB., for the first time in 44 months, Homan, Fleury, Miskew and Wilkes headed to the mall, hopped onto the yellow, pink, brown and green motorized animals and battled each other in auto-racing fashion.
It looked like Miskew won the race from her inside position, but she may have left early. Curling Canada may need to make a final decision on that one.
Team Homan wore a lot of smiles last week as it went 3-1 in the preliminary round and captured all three playoff games, which allowed Homan to win her record-extending 12th Grand Slam women’s title.
Homan, who throws the fourth rocks, scored two in the first end of the final, but Einarson countered with three in the second for a one-point advantage. The third end saw Homan post a matching three for a 5-3 lead and Einarson moved within one at the half, trailing 5-4.
After a blanked fifth end, Homan went on the offensive, scoring two in the sixth, stealing one in the seventh and shaking hands before the eighth.
Team Homan earned $30,000 for the championship win, while Einarson won $18,000.
The playoff road to the final saw Team Homan use the hammer to pick up four in the eighth and last end and turn back Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes 9-6 in the quarterfinals. Homan only scored in three ends (four in the second and three each in the fourth and eighth) to defeat Sweden’s Isabella Wrana 10-6.
In its head-to-head confrontations, Homan owns a 20-13 record against Einarson. Wins for Team Homan have been few and far between since February, 2019, against Einarson, who won her last five matches against Homan and nine of the past 11.
UNIVERSITY SOCCER TEAMS GO UNDEFEATED
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team has earned the right to defend its FISU World Cup championship next year.
Three years after winning the inaugural women’s university World Cup in Jinjiang, China, the Gee-Gees travelled to Merida, Mexico last week and went undefeated in five games to capture the FISU Americas women’s soccer championship.
As the Americas’ champion, the Gee-Gees will represent their zone at the second FISU World Cup in Jinjiang from Oct. 27 to Nov. 7, 2023.
The Gee-Gees held off late pressure from Paulista University from Brazil for a 2-1 victory in Sunday night’s final. Soumaya Bouak and Olivia Allen scored at the 12th- and 54th-minute respectively for a 2-0 lead before Paulista drew close with a goal at the 64th-minute.
In their third and final round-robin game, Nibo Dlamini scored a first-half goal for the Gee-Gees in a match that ended as a 1-1 draw against Paulista. Ottawa and Paulista met in the 2019 World Cup final as Katherine Bearne’s corner kick set up Mikayla Morton’s game-winning goal in the second-minute of the 1-0 championship game.
Ella Chase (38th minute) and Allen (68th minute) counted one goal apiece as the Gee-Gees blanked Tecnologico de Monterrey 2-0 in the semifinals.
In its other preliminary matches, the Gee-Gees defeated the University Salgado de Oliveira of Brazil 4-0 and Monterrey 3-1.
Cassandra Provost, who recently set the Gee-Gees’ single-season goal-scoring record, Angelina Gendreau, Allen and Trinity Esprit shared the Ottawa scoring against Salgado de Oliveira. Chase scored two goals and Allen added one in between as the Gee-Gees downed Monterrey.
While the main Ottawa women’s soccer team was on its international adventure, the substitutes turned starters and played to a 0-0 deadlock against last-place Royal Military College to end the Gee-Gees’ OUA regular season in second place in the East Division with nine wins, one loss and two ties. A win would have given them the division crown, but instead Queen’s University Gaels took first at 9-0-3.
Carleton University Ravens (8-3-1) finished fourth, after defeating Trent University Excalibur 2-1 and the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold 4-0.
Chloe Doherty and Raquel Costa-Correia scored in the second half to overcome a 1-0 Trent first-half lead. Chloe Doiron and Lauren Illman contributed two goals each in the victory over TMU, the former Ryerson University Rams.
The Ravens men’s soccer team was impressive offensively as well as defensively, blanking Trent 6-0 and TMU 5-0 to finish third in the OUA East.
Scott Mazzotta scored the first three goals in the opening 11 minutes against Trent before Luca Piccioli, Mandela Sharpe and Dewyn Viegas completed the offensive output. Roberto Frankovic and Tyler David shared the shutout, making one save each.
David didn’t face a single shot from the Bold as Mohammed Bouzidi, Richard Comba, Mazzotta, Viegas and Daniel Assaf scored the goals.
RAVENS, GEE-GEES QUALIFY FOR OUA FOOTBALL QUARTERFINALS
The 6-2 University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and 5-3 Carleton University Ravens will both play in OUA football quarterfinal contests on Saturday.
The Gee-Gees will be at home (Gee-Gees’ Stadium on Lees Avenue) to face the University of Windsor Lancers, while the Ravens will be on the road in Waterloo to meet the University of Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.
JP Cimankinda ran for touchdowns of two and four yards and Campbell Fair kicked a 39-yard field goal and two converts, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the undefeated University of Western Mustangs (8-0) 38-17.
While Western managed a balanced offence of 525 yards (279 yards rushing and 246 yards passing), the Gee-Gees were held to 266 yards (201 yards passing and 65 yards rushing).
Meanwhile, Kaseem Ferdinand hauled in passes of seven and 22 yards from quarterback Tanner DeJong as the Ravens defeated the University of Guelph Gryphons 35-24.
Single touchdowns went to Tristan Rinaldis (one-yard run) and Joshua Ferguson (22-yard pass play with DeJong), while Brandon Forcier kicked 10 points, including field goals from 45 and 18 yards.
GEE-GEES OFF TO U SPORTS WOMEN’S RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
The Laval Rouge et Or continues to hold the upper hand on the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in RSEQ women’s rugby.
After losing the final game of the regular season to pennant-winning Laval (6-0) and finishing in second place, Ottawa (5-1) dropped the league championship game to Rouge et Or 13-11.
Ketsia Kamba scored the Gee-Gees’ try, while Claire Gallagher kicked two penalties.
Ottawa and Laval have advanced to the U Sports national championship, beginning Nov. 2 in Victoria.
The Ravens ran past Sherbrooke Vert et Or 90-0 to qualify for the RSEQ bronze-medal game on Saturday against Concordia University Stingers. The Carleton-Sherbrooke game was called in the 66th minute.
Madison Cunha, Deleshia Dixon, Sophie Neely and Anna Norman paced the Ravens with two tries apiece.
CANADA REACHES WORLD WOMEN’S RUGBY 15s QUARTERFINALS
Second-ranked Canada will face the United States on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the world women’s rugby 15s championship in New Zealand.
Canada completed its group games with a perfect 3-0 record, after defeating the United States 29-14. Earlier, Canada turned back Italy 22-12 and Japan 41-5.
Cornwall back Maddy Grant of the University of Ottawa was in the starting lineup and played in the three group games, while front-line prop Alexandria Ellis was one of the replacement players for the Japan and Italy matches.
OTTAWA ROWING CLUB ATHLETES EARN THREE MEDALS
Ottawa Rowing Club made its presence known in two different ways at the prestigious, three-day Head of the Charles regatta near Boston, which attracted 2,488 entries from 792 clubs.
Not only did the club enter 12 youth, open and masters races, which ranked it 16th (tie) in the regatta, but also the local rowers won three medals and had two other top-10 results.
Anna van der Kamp, Rachel Inch, Madelaine Thiel, Melissa McKenzie, Lindsey Maguire, Emma Doucet, Pamela Peacock, Melanie Ecklund and coxswain Jeremy Courtney were runners-up in the women’s masters eight (40-plus age group) in 17 minutes, 31.206 seconds. Capital “A” was first in 17:08.954.
Alyssa Pastic and Meghan Jolley placed second in the women’s championship double among lightweight rowers. They finished 11th overall in 19:47.708, but that included three United States’ national rowing teams, which were considered exhibition pairs.
Daniel Martin and Robert Park were third in the men’s senior masters doubles (50-plus) in 17:55.902.
Julia Fournier rowed the course in 21:53.573 to finish fifth in the women’s grand master/veteran singles (50-plus, 60-plus). The crew of Megan Elekes, Abby Dyer, Rosie O’Brien and Kendra Hurtubise and coxswain Caitlin McMann were sixth in the women’s collegiate fours in 19:02.432.
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· Bailey Andison of the Perth Aquatic Swim Club was third in the women’s 400-metre individual medley (4:31.66) and sixth in the 200-metre IM (2:08.50) at the FINA Swimming World Cup (short course) in Berlin.
· Gloucester’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos lost to Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China 7-5, 5-7, 10-8 in the women’s doubles quarterfinals at the Guadalajara Akron Open. Dabrowski and Olmos will play in the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.
· The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees posted a 1-2 record at the OUA women’s softball championship, losing their first game to the University of Western Mustangs 6-3, before dropping to the consolation round and defeating the University of Windsor Lancers 10-5, but falling to Brock University Badgers 7-0.
HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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