Heartbreak city

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

So much for Manitoba's happy ending.

With the Canadian junior women's title well within their reach, Calleen Neufeld and her St. Vital foursome gave up a three-ender in the 10th end to lose 7-6 to Stacie Devereux's Newfoundland/Labrador rink.

Neufeld called a 10-6 loss to Saskatchewan's Mandy Selzer in last year's championship final a "tragedy" and this one will go down as a heartbreaker.

"It's tough for my girls because I hate letting them down like that," Neufeld said in a telephone interview from the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club shortly after the defeat. "For me personally, it sucks because it's our last year, too. We curled pretty well out there today, but that's how the rocks fall, I guess."

This was a see-saw affair that saw Neufeld and her crew of Sabrina Neufeld, Laryssa Grenkow and Breanne Meakin take their first lead of the game with a steal of one in the third end.

Then after giving up a steal of two in the seventh to fall behind 4-2, Neufeld cracked a three-ender of her own in the eighth to take a 5-4 edge.

With another steal of one in the ninth end, Neufeld's crew looked poised to move on to the worlds in their third national championship appearance.

TOUGH DECISION

Before throwing her final rock in the 10th and facing two counters, the Neufeld rink called a timeout to discuss strategy.

"We knew that if we didn't make it, they would have a chance to win," said Neufeld. "I was torn between drawing and hitting. Either way it was tough. We made the decision to go with the draw and if you make it, she would have a tough shot."

Neufeld said she felt comfortable in the hack, but her shot was slightly off and left Devereaux with a draw to the eight- foot for the win.

"I believed in the ice and we talked about the weight. I felt pretty good throwing it," said Neufeld. "You always feel better when you have the hammer, that's for sure. But with a two-point lead we were just trying to make our peels and make our hits. If you give up two, you go to an extra end and that's fine because you have the hammer.

"But we didn't get that chance."

Devereaux, who lost her first game of the week and then rattled off 12 consecutive wins, gave Newfoundland/Labrador its first Canadian junior women's title.

A political science and French student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Devereaux tried to keep focused on the final shot rather than the outcome.

"You can't think about that," Devereaux said. "As soon as that enters your mind you go a little crazy. It was just a draw for the win, that's all it was."

Devereaux's shot appeared that it might come up a bit short, which would have still seen Newfoundland sit two and force extra ends.

"It was a little light, but that's been my tendency, and the girls jumped it and got it there for me," Devereaux said. "It looked good."

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