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Alberta's Sweeting steals her way to semifinal against Manitoba

Alberta’s Val Sweeting stole her way to the semifinal of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts after defeating Stefanie Lawton 8-7 in the Page 3 vs 4 playoff Saturday afternoon at Maurice-Richard Arena.

Lawton led 3-1 after five, in a game that saw both teams playing cautiously for the first few ends. In six, Alberta got a break when Lawton’s hit and roll attempt rolled out, leaving Sweeting an open draw for two and the first deuce of the game.

“We had a bit of a shaky start,” admitted Sweeting. “Saskatchewan was playing really well. I thought we kept our rocks in good spots in the second half.”

(Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

(Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

The intensity picked up in the seventh. With rocks from both teams gathered on the four-foot, Lawton attempted to draw, but her rock tapped and rolled into the open, leaving a double. Sweeting stole two when Lawton’s draw came up short.

Sweeting and team of Joanne Courtney, Dana Ferguson, Rachel Pidherny, alternate Renée Sonnenberg and coach Taina Smiley put on a show in the eighth, throwing a big weight hit to remove two Saskatchewan rocks and avoid a jam.

Lawton’s draw against four came up short again, giving Sweeting a steal of three and an insurmountable 8-3 lead after eight ends.

“It was a little keen out there, and I threw them light and the girls just couldn’t take them there,” Lawton said. “Just unfortunate for us. I had great draw weight early in the game and then I just seemed to lose it. Two tough draws and I just couldn’t make it for the girls, so I feel not so good about that.”

“Not our best game, that’s for sure, but Val played very, very well,” said a disappointed Lawton, who will now play the loser of Saturday evening’s semifinal in the Bronze medal game on Sunday.

Sweeting will meet Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey in the semifinal at 4 p.m. Saturday (ET), with the winner earning a ticket to the Scotties final against Team Canada’s Rachel Homan. In the meeting between Alberta and Manitoba during the round robin, Sweeting came out on top of a 7-4 score.

“I think it will be a good game,” said the Alberta skip about the upcoming semifinal. “Last time we played them there was a lot of rocks in play and both teams played really well, so I expect that again. They’re a good team. We’ll have to play well.”

“The ice was great, and we caught on to it,” she said. “We just have to carry that on to tonight.”

TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide extensive coverage of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, with 66 hours of live broadcasts scheduled.

The winner of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will represent Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, March 15 to 23 in Saint John, N.B.

The 2014 Scotties marks the 33rd year of Kruger Products Limited’s sponsorship of the Canadian women’s championship.

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