Breanne Meakin and Team Canada are heading to the playoffs on a perfect pace at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain.
Team Canada’s Breanne Meakin, left, and Lauren Horton discuss shot options. (Photo, Canadian Interuniversity Sport)
Meakin and her teammates — third Lauren Horton, second Lynn Kreviazuk, lead Jessica Armstrong and coach Doug Kreviazuk — polished off a 9-0 round-robin schedule with an impressive 11-4 triumph over Ely Hanna of the United States and will take the top seeding into the semifinals, which are scheduled for Thursday at the Fuentenueva Pavilion on the campus of the University of Granada.
Canada will take on the winner of Wednesday’s fourth-place tiebreaker between South Korea’s Eun Jung Kim and Switzerland’s Nora Baumann after both teams finished with 5-4 records.
“We’re going to treat the semi like every other game,” said Meakin. “It doesn’t matter who we play. The other teams are talented, but we know that we are capable of beating all of them.”
The other semifinal will feature Sweden’s Sara McManus and Russia’s Anna Sidorova after both squads finished with 7-2 records.
The semifinals are scheduled for Thursday 9 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EST). The winners will advance to the gold-medal game on Friday at 9 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EST) while the losers will play for bronze on Thursday at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. EST).
Against the U.S., the Canadians — Meakin is from the University of Manitoba while her teammates attend Carleton University — gave up a first-end deuce to the Americans, but rallied back to tie it with two in the second end and took the lead for good with a steal of two in the third.
A Canadian score of five in the eighth end prompted handshakes.
It’s just the third time in Universiade history that a team has gone unbeaten through the curling round robin, and both were women’s teams.
In 2009 at Harbin, China, Hollie Nicol’s team from Wilfrid Laurier University was 9-0 before losing the gold-medal game to China.
And in 2013, Sidorova’s Russian team of career students put together an unbeaten record and finished it off with gold.
“We met our goal to make the playoffs,” said Meakin. “The fact that we made it through without losing was just a bonus. It just shows how well we’ve played all week.”
In men’s play, meanwhile, Matt Dunstone’s team from Winnipeg finished its round-robin schedule with a come-from-behind 7-5 win over Japan’s Kohsuke Hirata, but it wasn’t enough to clinch a playoff berth.
Dunstone, backed up by third Jim Coleman, second Daniel Grant, lead Chris Gallant and coach Scott Grant, finished with a 5-4 record, just out of the top four.
Canada was down 4-1 after four ends, but scored deuces in the sixth, seventh and eighth ends to take control.
Earlier, Canada bowed 10-3 to Sweden’s Patric Mabergs, which effectively scuttled Canada’s playoff hopes.
“It’s definitely disappointing, but I’m happy with how the boys played,” said Dunstone. “We’re content with how we finished, and we’re going to take it as a learning experience. It was a battle all week, and unfortunately we didn’t get the help we needed in the last draw. Unfortunately we got off to a rough start, and by the time we got it going, it was too little, too late.”
Norway’s Eirik Mjoen (7-2) will play Sweden (6-3) in one semifinal, while Russia’s Evgeny Arkhipov (7-2) Kyle Smith of Great Britain (6-3) in a rematch of the 2013 World Junior Men’s Championship gold-medal game at Sochi, Russia, won by Smith.
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