Team North America swept all three mixed doubles matches Friday afternoon to edge ahead 9-6 in the points standings and put itself in a good position to win its sixth straight World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Service Experts.
“We’ve struggled in mixed doubles in the past in this event,” said Marc Kennedy after he and Kate Cameron overcame a 3-0 first-end deficit to beat Christoffer Svae and Satsuki Fujisawa 8-5. “We’ve usually been really strong in the team and the skins games so to have a lead after a mixed doubles sweep is a good position to be in.
“You always want to have a lead in this thing after Friday. I think usually that team ends up winning.”
Ben Hebert, Kennedy’s teammate on the Kevin Koe Olympic-bound team, paired with Emma Miskew, third on Rachel Homan’s Olympic foursome, to beat Team World’s Sara McManus and Christoffer Sundgren 6-4.
“I think all the players at this level, leads, seconds, thirds can make all the shots,” said Hebert, who plays lead for Koe but had last rock Friday and make several key shots. “Obviously we don’t practise them as much, so it was exciting for me to get to play in games like that where you get to try different shots.
“We put some rocks in good spots and they never really put a ton of pressure on us. Emma made a couple of real good freezes early in the game when I was struggling, and then I started to make a few, and it turned out well for us.”
In the other match Joanne Courtney and John Shuster jumped into a 3-0 lead after two ends and went on to beat Team World’s Silvana Tirinzoni and Valentin Tanner 7-3 to complete the Team North America sweep.
The first team to reach 30.5 points will lay claim to the World Financial Group Continental Cup. Each game in the doubles play is worth one point in the overall standings to the winning team.
A total of 60 points are available over the four days of competition, which features traditional team games, mixed doubles games and skins games, with the first team to reach 30.5 points declared the winner.
In the Americas Zone Challenge series between Canada’s Glenn Howard and Brazil’s Marcelo Mello, the Canadians started slowly but rolled to another convincing win, 8-3 in eight ends, to move within one victory of sweeping the best-of-five competition.
“We were a little sloppy early, but we got a handle on it,” said Howard. “And like I figured the Brazilians got better. They made a lot of good shots today and hence the closer score. We haven’t had hammer a ton and every time we’ve had hammer we’ve put multiple points up there and then we put pressure on them.
“Definitely want to get it over tonight. Lets this done as soon as we possibly can.”
That could happen tonight when the teams play at 7 p.m.