Val Sweeting, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Dana Ferguson and Rachel Brown celebrate after winning the Masters Grand Slam of Curling title (Photo: Anil Mungal).

Sweeting wins 1st career Grand Slam at the Masters

November 2, 2014, 3:20 PM

Val Sweeting capped an emotional week for her Edmonton team with a 5-4 win over Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson to capture her first career Grand Slam of Curling title Sunday at the Masters.

Sweeting’s rink overcame adversity when new third Andrea Crawford left the team to return to New Brunswick on the eve of the Masters and Winnipeg-born Cathy Overton-Clapham came on board as a last-minute replacement.

With just 15 seconds left on the clock and the score all tied up in the women’s final, Sweeting called a timeout to plan out her final shot that saw her throw perfect weight and settle on the button to tap out Sigfridsson’s shot stone and score the winning single.

“I knew what I had to do on my first so I didn’t want to use it then and wanted to use (the timeout) on my last one,” Sweeting said. “Yesterday we almost ran out of time (in the semifinals) and didn’t have any timeouts so it’s just one thing we’ll have to watch moving forward. It was just a little tight.

“I felt the five-rock rule this week, I found it kind of made you think a little bit differently and maybe that was why we burnt a little bit more time because we were never that tight last year ever. It was an exciting week.”

It was also the first Grand Slam title win for second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown, who along with Sweeting dubbed themselves the “tripod” as they charged together through the tournament. Overton-Clapham — who has won one world championship, five Scotties and two Players’ Championship titles — fit right in on the team as they finished 3-1 in the round robin with their only loss coming against Olympic champions Team Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

They topped Switzerland’s Alina Paetz 5-2 in the quarterfinals and ensured a new team name would be added to the Masters trophy when they defeated two-time defending champion Rachel Homan 4-3 in the extra end of the semifinals.

“With the three of us, I’m just really proud of what we’ve done this week,” Ferguson said. “Cathy was amazing but it’s still a brand-new team, our first game together at the Masters. We just did everything we could. We supported each other through it all and I think that was key. We tried to give each other what we needed through the whole thing and just kept that momentum going. The positivity kept working for us.”

Sweeting added: “I didn’t feel like I was at my best yesterday but they were there for me. If anything it will bring us closer and give us that confidence moving forward once we do have more of a permanent fourth (member). We can be even stronger.”

The two rinks opened the scoring trading singles and Sweeting scored a deuce in the fourth to pull ahead 3-2. Sigfridsson blanked the fifth to retain the hammer. Sweeting held shot stone in the sixth and Maria Prytz, Sigfridsson’s fourth, missed with her final attempt as it clipped one of her team’s rocks while entering the 12-foot circle and sailed through the house, allowing Sweeting to steal a point and lead by two.

Prytz bounced back and nailed a raised takeout to score a pair in the seventh to tie it up before the thrilling finale that saw Sweeting raise her broom in the air and Ferguson leap off the ice.

“I’m still shaking,” Ferguson said. “I didn’t realize I reacted as I did. I was pretty calm throughout the whole thing and the end was a little emotional. I kind of got my adrenaline going. It was just a really exciting feeling.”

Sigfridsson, the Sochi Olympics silver medallist, made her second career trip to a Grand Slam of Curling final. Sigfridsson’s team from Skellefteå, Sweden, fell to Scotland’s Eve Muirhead at the 2013 Players’ Championship.

Sigfridsson skips from the lead position and is joined by fourth Maria Prytz, third Christina Bertrup and second Maria Wennerström.

Team Sigfridsson had a back-and-forth round robin — finishing with a 2-2 record — and needed a 6-4 win over Russia’s Anna Sidorova in the tiebreakers to qualify. The team continued to pick up steam and defeated reigning world champion Binia Feltscher 8-4 in the quarterfinals and edged home province favourite Jones in a rematch of the Sochi Olympics gold medal game.

The Masters continues with the men’s final between Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen and Brad Gushue of St. John’s at 3 p.m. ET / Noon PT on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific.

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