Sarah Daniels and Team B.C. will be heading into the Sunday finals of the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s Curling Championships with two huge playoff wins under their belts.
On Saturday, Daniels and her North Delta-based rink of third Kayla MacMillan, second Jessica Humphries and lead Sarah Loken defeated last year’s world and national champions in Kaitlyn Jones and Nova Scotia 9-7 Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.
And before that on Friday, Daniels beat Laurie St-Georges and Team Quebec 8-6 in the tiebreaker match. Last year, Quebec were the junior national finalists, picking up the silver medal.
“We feel pretty good, but no different than we have all season,” Daniels said, who has won junior national silver medals in 2016 as a skip and 2014 as a second. “We worked really hard to get here, so we’ll let our preparation carry us forward.”
The big turning point of the match came in the third end, when Daniels scored four and took a 5-1 lead.
“Getting that four was huge for us. It settled our nerves,” Daniels said. “As the end developed, they were leaving our rocks in play so I was thinking if we ended up getting some angles, maybe we’d get a two or three-spot. I didn’t think we would be sitting five after my shot.”
But Jones responded. She answered with a deuce to get back in the game, then forced Daniels to one in the fifth. After scoring one in the sixth end, Jones had a brilliant triple takeout with her last rock to steal one in the seventh to make it a 6-5 game.
In the eighth end, Jones missed a takeout on the edge of the 12-foot, leaving Daniels a hit for three. Daniels couldn’t keep her shooter in, but still scored two and took an 8-5 lead into the ninth.
Daniels flashed on a peel in the ninth end, opening the door for Jones to score a pair in the ninth and make it an 8-7 game.
But Daniels was able to close the door and finish strong with a single point in the 10th end to hold on and win 9-7.
Now, there’s just one more giant on the list to beat for B.C. They’ll tangle with Selena Sturmay and Team Alberta in the finals, 10 a.m. Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre. Alberta enters the finals with a 10-0 record and are the only undefeated team, men’s or women’s, in the tournament.
B.C. and Alberta have already met in the tournament, with Alberta winning 8-6 back on Sunday in the round robin. It’s one of the closer games Alberta has been in all tournament.
But Daniels isn’t thinking looking in the past at the match, she’s looking forward to Sunday.
“It was a long time ago that we played them,” Daniels said. “We played them in our third round robin game over at the club, so I think it’s a fresh start going out tomorrow.”
On the men’s side, Rylan Kleiter and Team Saskatchewan play in the men’s semifinals against J.T Ryan and Team Manitoba at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
The winner of that will move onto the men’s finals and try to upset Tyler Tardi and Team B.C. Tardi has won the last two national championships, and he and his third Sterling Middleton could become the first players to win three nationals. They also won the world championship last year in Aberdeen, Scotland, beating Scotland’s Ross Whyte 6-5 in extra ends.
On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW
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