LACOMBE — After the awards presentation was completed and the final photos taken, Val Sweeting talked about her curling season to date.
And what a season. Not only is Sweeting’s Edmonton rink second on the World Curling Tour money list with earnings of $69,950, but more importantly, is the Alberta women’s champion for the second year in succession.
In some ways, Sweeting admitted, this season has been much like last, including the team’s performance in the Alberta Scotties which concluded with Sunday’s 9-7 win over Chelsea Carey of Edmonton in the provincial final at the Lacombe Arena. The Sweeting foursome will represent Alberta in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the Canadian championship — Feb. 14-22 at Moose Jaw.
“We kind of had a similar mindset as we did last year,” said the victorious skip. “We were coming off a pretty good season as well. We knew we’d have a target on our backs this year but we just tried not to focus on that.
“We just wanted to perform well and hopefully that would translate into winning and it did. We just kind of took it one shot at a time and stayed in it.”
Sweeting never trailed in the final after executing a soft, angle raise for two in the opening end. Carey battled back with one in each of the second and third frames, then traded singles over the next two ends.
It was in the sixth that Sweeting took control, erupting for three points and a 6-3 lead. Carey drew the foor-foot for a deuce in the seventh, but Sweeting replied with two in the eighth, drawing the small circle with her final stone.
Then came the ninth and two narrow misses for the defending champ and two perfect shots for Carey — a freeze and then a hit-and-stick for two to make it an 8-7 game heading to the 10th.
“I felt like there was a couple shots where I left them an out, definitely a couple of shots that I’d want back, for sure,” said Sweeting. “But she (Carey) also made some really good shots to set up their deuces, but overall we had control going home and that’s all you can ask for.”
Carey was never able to get a guard set up on the centre line in the 10th end, but managed to drew behind an off-centre guard and into the full eight-foot with her final stone.
Sweeting, though, had her four-foot weight in her back pocket and calmly drew the pot for one and the provincial title.
“We expected it to be close and they made some really good shots to keep it close,” said Sweeting, who has Lori Olson-Johns at third, Dana Ferguson at second and Rachelle Brown at lead. “They’re a good team but we just tried to keep control and have that (final) shot for the win.
“Its been such a great season and we hope to continue on in Moose Jaw. It’s an honour to be representing Alberta after coming out of a really good competition and a really good week. I’m so proud of the girls for pulling through.”
For Carey, the 2014 Manitoba champion who moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton last spring and formed a new team consisting of third Laura Crocker and front-enders Taylor McDonald and Jen Gates, it was just another provincial-final disappointment.
Before winning the Manitoba title last year she had lost two provincials finals and placed fourth in another Manitoba championship.
“It sucks, we (I) lost another provincial final. There’s nothing good you can say about that,” said Carey. “They’re a great team and they’ll do a great job (at the Canadians). We knew it was going to be a tough game against them. It wasn’t a very good game for us, but that happens.”
Carey could only wonder what might have been if she would have encountered better luck with two of her shots.
“It just wasn’t meant to be for us,” she said. “My rock, my guard in the first end picked or we’d probably have forced them (to one) there, and if my draw curls in six we might steal one or certainly force them to one. But it just hung and hung and it never got there. The weight was good, it just didn’t go our way, so what can you do?”
Carey advanced to the Scotties final with a 7-5 semifinal win over Heather Nedohin of Edmonton Sunday morning, putting up three two-enders in the process.
Sweeting went through the provincial Scotties undefeated, winning the A-event qualifier and then shading Nedohin 3-2 in the 1-2 Page playoff game Saturday evening with a single point in the 10th. Carey, who qualified out of the C event, scored three in the 10th and downed Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge 7-4 in the 3-4 Page game.
In the C-event qualifiers Saturday afternoon, Carey beat Crystal Webster of Calgary 6-3 and Scheidegger was an 8-4 winner over Teryn Hamilton of Calgary.