Krista McCarville’s Thunder Bay team advanced Friday morning to a (1 p.m. today) battle for a berth in tonight’s women’s Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials semi-final with a 7-4 victory over Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton.
It was McCarville’s second conquest of Lawton during the eight-team competition that saw five teams survive the week-long round robin for playoff action.
McCarville, Lawton and Amber Holland of Kronau, SK, finished deadlocked for a second semi-final berth thereby forcing two tiebreakers today.
Holland and McCarville will contest the second tiebreaker this afternoon with the winner going against defending Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary in tonight’s semi.
The winner of the semi will face Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the right to represent Canada in the 2010 Olympic curling tournament at Vancouver in February.
McCarville’s team includes third Tara George, second Kari MacLean and lead Lorraine Lang, a former two-time Canadian women’s champion.
The Thunder Bay skip blew open the argument with Lawton in the fifth end, executing a tight but precise double-kill that left four Thunder Bay rocks counting. It gave the team with the youngest skip in the women’s competition at Rexall Place a 5-2 lead.
Following an exchange of singles, McCarville’s last rock of the eighth end over-curled on a freeze in the eight-foot leaving Lawton an open draw to an approximate six-foot circle for a pair. But Lawton was an inch heavy on the draw and settled for a single point on a measure.
The miscue proved to be Lawton’s last chance to ease her way back into the battle and avoid elimination.
Both skips agreed “that one shot” was the difference.
“My last one in that end,” said Lawton, who led 2-1 playing the fifth, “would have been better had I not thrown it. But she made a great shot. We didn’t put it in a good spot (in the four-foot) but that’s the way it goes sometimes. You don’t see it until they make a great shot on you.”
McCarville was elated with her team’s performance.
“We needed that kind of game against them,” she said. “This was our best yet. Absolutely, it turned out to be a one-shot game. We had to hit her rock anywhere on the high side and it was going to be there for four. Anywhere else and we probably get three. But it’s tough to protect a lead for five ends on this ice. Your nerves always are a little more rattled.”
Lawton agreed her team’s next long-range goal would be the 2014 Olympic qualification process.
“You want to bring your best game and we didn’t bring our best game here,” she said. “But, you work hard, keep going at it, and you never know what good things will happen to you.”
Holland defeated McCarville on last rock in their previous round-robin collision.