Team Sweeting’s run ends in GSOC Champions Cup tiebreaker

Rachel Homan makes the precision hit to score three and lift her team past Alina Paetz in a tiebreaker and into the Humpty's Champions Cup playoffs.

CALGARY — Val Sweeting and her team’s time together has come to a close.

The foursome from Edmonton now head in different directions with their season over following a 10-4 loss to Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones on Saturday morning in the Humpty’s Champions Cup tiebreaker draw.

Sweeting was in danger to start the season finale Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament opening with a 0-2 record but persevered winning two straight to stay in the mix and was victorious in the first tiebreaker round against Delia DeJong of Grande Prairie, Alta., on Friday night before falling short against Jones.

“Just a little disappointing finish there,” Sweeting said. “We were having a good game and then I thought I threw both of mine pretty well in the sixth end and we didn’t get the results. It was just really unfortunate to kind of let it go the way that it did but typical Team Sweeting grind this week.

“We struggled a bit in our first two games but we figured it out and still worked together. It was a great week and it was great to be out there with the girls.”

The “tripod” of Sweeting, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown opened the Olympic cycle capturing their first career Grand Slam title at the 2014 Masters with super spare Cathy Overton-Clapham at third. Lori Olson-Johns joined the crew shortly after and clicked instantly as they captured the Canada Cup at the end of that year.

Team Sweeting, who finished runner-up at the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, added additional hardware in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling claiming back-to-back Tour Challenge Tier 1 titles in 2016 and 2017 and cashed in the Bonus Cup as the season champion in 2016-17.

“It is special when you spend this much time with individuals every weekend they become your family,” an emotional Olson-Johns said earlier this week.

Sweeting is joining Kerri Einarson at third next season while second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown are sticking together and linking up with Chelsea Carey. Coincidentally, Einarson clashes with Carey in the Humpty’s Champions Cup quarterfinals at Noon MT (Watch on Sportsnet 360).

“Rooting on Kerri and there are a lot of great teams left,” Sweeting said. “It’ll be a good playoff. We had hoped we would have been in there but just best of luck to everyone.”

Olson-Johns bids farewell, for now, as she takes a step back from competitive curling.

“I have a young family, so that’s definitely going to be my priority moving forward,” Olson-Johns said. “I’m not going to say that I won’t be curling, I don’t like the word ‘retirement’ because I don’t think anything is ever final. My focus will move more towards family and helping my girls achieve their dreams.”

Sweeting added: “I wish her all the best as she switches focus to her girls. Hopefully, we’ll still see her out there and all the best to everyone as we go our separate ways now.”

The reigning Bonus Cup champion Jones will now take on Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland in the women’s quarterfinals, American Jamie Sinclair faces reigning champ Rachel Homan of Ottawa and Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg meets Scotland’s Eve Muirhead.

Meanwhile, Mike McEwen’s Winnipeg team lives to play at least another game after ousting Saskatoon’s Colton Flasch 6-3 in the men’s tiebreakers. Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson also grabbed one of the final playoff spots eliminating defending champ Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 4-3.

McEwen meets Scotland’s Bruce Mouat in the men’s quarterfinals (4 p.m. MT; Sportsnet 360) and Gunnlaugson goes up against men’s Bonus Cup champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. Calgary’s own Kevin Koe collides with Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher and Glenn Howard of Tiny, Ont., plays American Team Greg Persinger, skipped by third Rich Ruohonen.

The semifinals are also scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. MT (Sportsnet 360) with both finals Sunday.

Online streaming for the playoffs is available at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare TV (international).

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