LAS VEGAS — Going to bed behind in the overall standings on Thursday night at the World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, did not sit well with Team North America skip Rachel Homan.
“I went to bed last night at 10,” said Homan. “In Vegas. That’s a world record, I think. We really wanted to win this morning, and we got the job done.”
Yes, they certainly did. Homan and her Ottawa team were part of a clean sweep of three traditional team games by Team North America on Friday morning at the Orleans Arena.
The results erased a Team World lead, and left Team North America with a 7-5 lead in curling’s version of the Ryder Cup.
“We were a little bit nervous coming into this morning,” admitted Homan, moments after her team’s 7-1 dismantling of Team World’s Ayumi Ogasawara. “But we got the clean sweep and we’re pretty excited about that.”
In the other results, Team North America’s Jennifer Jones stole three in the fourth end en route to a 6-4 win over Team World’s Alina Pätz, while in the lone men’s game, John Shuster of Team North America shaded Jialiang Zang of Team World 6-5.
The Jones victory was a small measure of revenge against the Swiss team it lost to in the gold-medal game of the 2015 World Women’s Championship in Sapporo, Japan.
“That was a tough loss for us to take for a period of time this year, but every time you play a team that you’ve lost to in a big game, it’s always a new game, right?” said Team Jones second Jill Officer. “And it was just another game that we wanted to go out and play well, and we did.”
The Shuster team — one of two U.S. squads that are part of Team North America — took control of its game by scoring three in the sixth end when Shuster made an angle-raise takeout to knock out the Chinese counter and prompt a round of high-fives from his North American teammates.
“Any time you can come out and get a sweep in a draw, it’s huge for momentum and in the standings, and morale in general,” said Shuster. “Rick (Lang) and Ann (Swisshelm; the Team North America coach and captain respectively) told us this morning, ‘OK, this is moving day for us. Let’s come out with energy and make sure we’re together on all three sheets.’ It was fun.”
The 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup continues Friday another round of mixed doubles competition, at 1 p.m. (all times Pacific), followed by another round of traditional team play, at 6:30 p.m.
A total of 60 points are available over the four days of competition in traditional team, mixed doubles and skins competition, with the first team to surpass 30.5 points declared the winner.