Alberta's Sweeting posts comeback win over Koltun to open Scotties

MONTREAL - Val Sweeting's Alberta rink scored three points in the ninth end for a comeback 7-5 victory over 20-year-old Sarah Koltun of the Yukon and Northwest territories in the opening draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Saturday.

Koltun took a 4-1 lead with a steal of one in the fifth end, but the 26-year-old Sweeting took over after the break. A miss by Koltun with her first stone in the ninth set up the decisive steal by Alberta.

Sweeting's rink kept the house clear in the 10th and left no chance for Koltun to force an extra end.

Koltun, of Whitehorse, is the youngest skip ever to play in the Scotties and is the first to skip at the Canadian junior and Scotties championships in the same year.

It was a nervy opener in front of home fans for Quebec's Allison Ross as she failed to score a point until she picked up one in the eighth. After scoring, she conceded a 6-1 victory to New Brunswick's Andrea Crawford.

Crawford scored a single in the second end, then stole single points in the fifth and sixth. She stole another three in the seventh as Ross struggled to find her range. A big cheer went up at the Maurice Richard Arena when Ross finally got her point, but the match was out of reach.

Newfoundland's Heather Strong took a 6-2 lead after six ends, then had to hold off a charge from Nova Scotia's Heather Smith for an 8-5 victory.

Tournament of Hearts newcomer Kesa Van Osch of British Columbia needed an extra end to defeat veteran Kim Dolan's Prince Edward Island rink 7-4.

The evening draw Saturday has defending champion Rachel Homan and Team Canada in its first action against Manitoba. Other matches have B.C. against Alberta, Quebec against Newfoundland and Ontario versus Saskatchewan.

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