Val Sweeting successfully defended the Jiffy Lube Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship with a 9-7 win over Chelsea Carey in the all-Edmonton rink provincial final Sunday in Lacombe, Alta.
It’s been quite the run this season for Team Sweeting. After reaching the national Scotties a year ago, third Joanne Courtney departed the rink to join Canadian champion Rachel Homan. Sweeting brought Andrea Crawford on board but the seven-time New Brunswick champ left the team on the eve of the Masters Grand Slam of Curling tournament in late October.
The “tripod” of Sweeting, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachelle Brown charged onward with spare Cathy Overton-Clapham and captured their first career Grand Slam title. Lori Olson-Johns became their permanent third and fit right in as they claimed the Canada Cup in December.
Now, they’re heading back to the nationals after rolling through the Alberta tournament with an undefeated 5-0 record.
Sweeting, who also won the provincial title in 2010, opened the final with the hammer and sat two with one shot remaining but Carey’s frozen rock on top of the pair made it impossible to score more without wrecking. Sweeting opted to throw through and take the deuce.
Carey was held to one in the second but her shot stone in the third was partially buried and Sweeting had a chance to tap it out for two. However, her shooter missed the mark and glanced off of the stone to give up the steal that tied it 2-2.
The two teams swapped singles through the fourth and fifth ends to keep it even at 3-3.
Sweeting then charged into the lead for good with an incredible double takeout in the sixth to bop out both of Carey’s stone and score three to pull ahead 6-3.
Carey recovered in seven with an open draw for shot rock and added a second point after a close measurement but Sweeting countered with a deuce in eight to regain the three-point advantage.
Carey added another two in the ninth to narrow the gap to one but gave up the hammer for the final end. Sweeting made no mistake sending her final stone of the 10th into the four-foot circle to get shot rock and clinch the title.
It was a rare final between two reigning provincial championship skips. Carey represented Manitoba and won the bronze medal at the national Scotties a year ago but was looking towards the future and formed a new rink in Edmonton during the off-season with Laura Crocker, Taylor McDonald and Jen Gates.
Team Carey slipped to the C-side of the triple knockout tournament but heated up just in time to defeat Crystal Webster 6-3 to qualify, beat Casey Scheidegger 7-4 in the page playoff C-vs-C game and top four-time Alberta champ Heather Nedohin 9-7 in the semifinal.