EDMONTON - Defending Canadian women's champion Jennifer Jones is on the brink after losing her second consecutive game at the Canadian Olympic curling trials in Edmonton.
Jones, a three-time winner of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and a favourite to represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics, gave up four points in the fifth end Monday morning and was dumped 9-3 by Krista McCarville.
With the women set to compete in their third draw Monday night, another round robin loss could all but eliminate Jones from playoff contention.
"We've put our backs in a really bad spot this time," the Winnipeg curler said following her rink's second straight defeat.
"They played really well and we got outplayed. It's disappointing. It's going to be a long week now. We're going to have to pick it up and hope things go our way."
When asked what's gone wrong for the team that's dominated Canadian curling for the last few years, Jones said her squad was on the wrong side of the inch for the second consecutive day.
"My first one curled half a rock too far in the first end and it just seemed to be the tone for the game. But we've had it turn around for us before, maybe we'll turn it around again," she said.
While Jones, the number one seed at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, was sombre after the loss, No. 6-ranked McCarville was beaming.
"I got big smiles," the Thunder Bay, Ont., resident told reporters after the match.
"It feels really good. We haven't beat them ever. We've had really tight games against them I think every single time we've played them. It feels so good to beat them now."
With the win, McCarville's rink improved its record to 1-1. Her team lost to Calgary's Cheryl Bernard on Monday after a dramatic double-takeout for five points in the tenth end.
Bernard was smack in the middle of another nailbiter Monday, as her winning point against Kronau, Sask., resident Amber Holland in the 11th end required three separate measures.
"You've got to have a few things go your way so that worked out," Jones said after the win.
Bernard's team is the only one to have won its first two decisions. Six of the squads are 1-1, while Jones' rink is the only unit to have lost its first two matches.
Eight women's teams began play in the round robin tournament Sunday. The first-place team at the end of the round robin will advance directly to the final match, while the second and third-place teams will meet in the semifinal.
The tournament champion will represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink rebounded from a first day loss to fellow Calgarian Crystal Webster Sunday by dumping Kelowna, B.C.'s, Kelly Scott 9-6 on Monday.
"The ice was curling a little more," she said. "We just had a better handle on it, I think. We were a little bit off when we first went out there yesterday thinking it was going to curl and it didn't but today it was really great and curled nice."
In other action Monday morning, Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton drew for a single point in an extra end to edge Webster 8-7.
- With files from Bill Graveland in Edmonton.