Scotland claims third straight World Junior women’s title
Eve Muirhead led Scotland to it’s third consecutive world junior women’s curling championship with an 8-6 win over Canada’s Kaitlyn Lawes in the final at Vancouver Olympic Centre.
Muirhead, who skipped the 2008 championship team and played third on the 2007 squad, achieved her third consecutive world junior gold medal in a tight, well-played affair at the venue that will host curling and wheelchair curling at next year’s Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Lead Sarah McIntyre shares in Murihead’s glory of three straight titles, which is unprecedented in world junior women’s championship history. Scottish third Anna Sloan is a new member of the team, while sisters Vicki and Kay Adams, at second stone and alternate position, won their second global title.
“I’m very happy, that was an excellent game,” said the 18-year-old Muirhead.
“We’re very pleased to win titles in a row. We’ve gone up and up since the start of the competition. We played well in the first half but we stepped up even more in the second half.”
Scotland started with a deuce in the first end, and Canada responded with two in the third and a steal in the fourth. Muirhead then added two deuces to a single for Lawes through the seventh end, and when Lawes scored another pair in the third, Scotland had regained control of the game, tied at six with the hammer and two ends to go.
“We just really tried to take or twos and force the ones,” said Muirhead. “We sat back and waited and took the opportunities. There’s no point in going gung ho right at the start.”
In the ninth end, Sloan flashed a peel attempt and Canada buried behind cover.
Muirhead made the runback double on her first stone, and faced a simple blank attempt on her last rock but missed, scoring the unintentional point to move ahead 7-6.
In the 10th end Lawes, the 2008 world bronze medallist, played hard for the deuce and the house soon filled with Scottish granite. Canada continued to pour on the offense and with the hosts lying one on the back eight-foot rings, Muirhead threw a fantastic come-around draw to the edge of the button on her first stone.
After lengthy discussion, the two-time Canadian junior champion tried a come-around tap for two and the win, but was wide by a fraction. The Scots erupted into the air while Lawes slumped to the ice.
Lawes was visibly distraught after the match.
“I don’t know what to say” Lawes said. “It meant a lot to me.”
“The whole team is upset, it hurts,” said Canadian coach Rob Meakin, the father of lead Breanne Meakin. “It was their dream. They’re champions in my mind. They had a great week, and that was a very difficult shot.”
Muirhead leaves Monday morning for Gangneung, Korea and the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women’s Curling Championship, which begins on Saturday. She will skip Team Scotland.
Last month the young veteran became the first Scottish woman to win both the national junior and adult women’s title in the same season.
Only one other country has won three consecutive world junior women’s titles. Canada scored the treble with three different teams – skipped by Kim Gellard, Kelly McKenzie (Scott) and Heather Godberson (Nedohin) – between 1994 and 1996.
In the bronze medal game, Switzerland juggled their lineup by moving Nicole Duenki to skip, while Marisa Winkelhausen stayed at fourth stones. The move paid off as the Swiss stopped a playoff losing skid with a 5-4 win over Russia’s Margarita Fomina.
Next year’s combined 2010 World Junior Curling Championships will take place at the new Waldhaus Arena in Flims, Switzerland.
The 2009 WJCC is hosted by the Vancouver Olympic Centre, which welcomes the 2010 Olympic curling and Paralympic Wheelchair curling competitions next year.