Friday, October 31, 2014

Homan runs table to defend Scotties crown

MONTREAL—Rachel Homan never got to throw a final stone in a 10th end.
Such was the dominance of Homan’s Canada team, which went undefeated to claim a second-straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts with an 8-6 victory over Alberta’s Val Sweeting last night.

“We ran the table,” noted Homan. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates,” she added.
“To be repeat champions is something we’re crazy proud of.”
The Ottawa team of Homan, lead Lisa Weagle, second Alison Kreviazuk, and third Emma Miskew defended the Canadian women’s curling championship they won last year in Kingston, Ont.
At 13-0, they were the first since Linda Moore’s rink in 1985 to go undefeated.
They were barely threatened along the way, including in the final, when they scored three in the second end and never looked back.
“Being repeat champs is something we’ve worked hard for and it’s something not a lot of teams have done,” said Homan.
“That’s what I’m proud of—coming back and showing that we can do it again and that we’re still dominant.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has watched Briers but never before attended a Scotties, was in his Canadian Olympic team jacket among the crowd of 2,861 at the Maurice Richard Arena to watch both the final and the earlier bronze-medal game won by Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey.
The win puts Homan’s rink into the women’s world championship March 15-24 in Saint John, N.B., looking to improve on the bronze she won at last year’s worlds.
Sweeting, who finished fourth in the round-robin but beat Carey in Saturday night’s semi-final, was never able to recover from giving up the early lead.
“I thought we had a stronger second half but you can’t get down early on them because they’re such a good team,” Sweeting stressed.
“We were setting up a couple of good ends after that but then we’d have a miss,” she noted.
“What can you do?”
“It wasn’t easy—they made us work for everything,” said Homan.
“Credit to Val’s team,” she added. “We needed our absolute ‘A’ game to beat them.”
Carey won the bronze medal game 7-3 over Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton earlier yesterday.
It offered some consolation for not reaching the final.
“The disappointment doesn’t go away but you want to at least salvage what you can out of it,” reasoned Carey.
“I don’t agree with this even being a game. I never have,” she noted.
“The Page [playoff] system builds in a bronze-medallist.
“But as much as I disagree with the game, it’s nice to win a game to get there.”
“It would have been nice to finish with a medal but I’m proud of our girls,” said Lawton.
“It was a great tournament for us. It’s unfortunate how it ended.”
Attendance for the week was 39,063, which is less than usual for the Scotties but about what organizers expected in a city that is not a curling hotbed.
Attendance likely will be up sharply at next year’s event in Moose Jaw, Sask.

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