Van Osch juniors among favourites at provincials

Kalia Van Osch begins play at the Tim Hortons B.C. Junior Women’s Curling Championship today (Dec. 26) in Chilliwack.

No matter the competition, Kalia Van Osch’s curling team has been winning.

Whether it’s their peers in the junior women’s division, the men and women in the cash league, or the ladies on the World Curling Tour, the Van Osch rink wins more often than not.

So the Nanaimo skip has to be considered one of the favourites as the Tim Hortons B.C. Junior Women’s Curling Championship begins today (Dec. 26) in Chilliwack.

Kalia Van Osch and third Marika Van Osch are teaming this year with second Sarah Daniels, lead Ashley Sanderson and fifth Megan Daniels.

“It’s been such a good season,” said Kalia. “It’s working as well as any of the team’s we’ve had in the last couple of years. Everyone has high-level experience, everyone is really dedicated so it’s fitting really well and everyone’s playing great.”

Kalia’s Environmental Dynamics Inc. team is undefeated in Nanaimo’s Christensen Collision Cash League and she and Marika travel to play in a Tuesday night league on the mainland. Highlights from the season so far include two runner-up finishes at World Curling Tour events in Cloverdale and Maple Ridge.

The team always had a strong defensive sort of style, but this year it’s rounded out its game.

“We’ve really built into our strategy the ability to play aggressive, to put a little more pressure on the other team,” Kalia said.

With the fundamentals down, the curlers have been able to hone their finesse game and can confidently try to make harder shots.

Their shot-making will need to be crisp this week against seven of the province’s top junior rinks. Last year’s junior women’s champions, the Corryn Brown rink out of Kamloops, is back to defend. Brown beat Kalia Van Osch in last year’s B.C. final but the Nanaimo skip has won both meetings so far this fall.

“They’ll definitely be a team to beat but I think we are also one of the teams to beat,” Kalia said.

Every game will be difficult, she said, and her team intends to go “full out” in every draw.

“It’s mostly just sticking to our game plan beforehand, our end plans and putting pressure on them to make their shots,” Kalia said. “So it’s really just dialling in to what we want to happen in the games.”

There is a lot of incentive to curl well and win this week. Provincial championships mean B.C. jackets and a berth in nationals go to the winners. Also, the provincial final on Tuesday (Dec. 31) will be televised at 10:30 a.m. on Sportsnet.

“We’re really excited to go out there and we really want to be able to go out there and perform in that final…” Kalia said. “It will be a big game to play in but it’s what you’ve been working for all year so we’re all really excited to try and make it there.”