Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias and Lauren Lenentine are one win away from representing Manitoba at the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts next month in Thunder Bay.
The Altona Curling Club foursome defeated Kaitlyn Jones 6-5 Saturday night in Carberry and then nervously waited and then anxiously watched Darcy Robertson steal a single point in the 10th end and beat Kristy Watling 7-5.
Zacharias, Jones and Watling completed play in the Championship Round with identical 6-2 records.
First place and a bye to the final of the 2022 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Carberry Plains Community Centre went to Team Zacharias thanks to their victories over Jones & Watling in the Championship Round.
“We could have been out, we could have been in and somehow we ended up in the final,” said Zacharias. “We’ll take it. Darcy’s team is fantastic. Gaetanne (Gauthier) came over to us after the game and gave us a good hug and we’re like – thank you. She’s a former teammate of mine as well and we’re so thankful for them.”
At the completion of the teams nine-minute practice session, Mackenzie Zacharias threw an out-turn draw and found a piece of the button that gave her team hammer in the first end in their game with Jones.
Three hours later, needing a little more than full four-foot, Zacharias threw an in-turn draw with her final rock of the 10th end and again found a piece of the button for the team's fourth must-win in a row.
“I felt like our sweepers had a really good handle on the speed all game and it hasn’t really changed much all week as well,” said Zacharias on her pressure packed last rock draw. “Greg Ewasko makes fantastic ice. Everyone knows that. I knew I had a pretty decent feel and kind of knew what would be close. I threw it somewhat close, maybe a little bit up the girls might say, but it ended up curling in there and it stopped in time so that was nice.”
Zacharias, Burgess, Zacharias and Lenentine, the second seed in Carberry, had two wins and a loss heading into their Thursday night game with Kristy McDonald.
It wasn’t close.
The game was over in five ends as McDonald got four in the first and five in the fourth.
The final was 9-3 and Team Zacharias was 2-2 and facing must-win games for the rest of the week.
The 2020 World Junior champions beat Beth Peterson 9-4 Friday afternoon which got them into the Championship Round where they reeled off three more impressive wins, 10-2 over Kristy Watling; 9-6 over Tracy Fleury and 6-5 over Kaitlyn Jones.
“We definitely had a little bit of a slow start this week,” said Zacharias. “We just weren’t really feeling it. We weren’t really playing our game. We took it one game at a time and knew we had to grind it out a bit and we did that. We got ourselves into a position where we couldn’t lose anymore so we kind of stepped it up a little bit and we started to find our groove. Against Beth (Peterson) we started to find our game a little more and we just kind of kept building from there. I’m really excited to see what happens.”
On Sunday Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias and Lauren Lenentine, who won the 2020 Manitoba, Canadian and World Junior championships, have an opportunity to add a Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts title to their impressive resume.
“We’ve all been in big games but we’ve all been in big games together which is super nice so we know how to help each other out, we know what to do and step-by-step see how it goes,” said Zacharias. “You never know what Sunday is going to bring. It’s still a little ways away but we’ll do the best that we can.”
Zacharias will face Kristy Watling in the final. Watling defeated Kaitlyn Jones 8-6 in the semifinal.