CURLING: Playoff hopes dimming for Americans at 2008 World Championship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 10, 2008 USA's playoff hopes dimming at 2008 World Men's Championship (GRAND FORKS, N.D.) - Craig Brown's Team USA is on the playoffs respirator as Switzerland took one more breath away from the Americans in an 8-7 loss this afternoon at the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship. Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) need a big win tonight over Canada (9-1) and a loss by Norway to try to advance to a tiebreaker game for the final playoff berth. Scotland (7-3) and China (7-4) clinched playoff berths this afternoon to join Canada as the teams extending their stay in Grand Forks. "Obviously, we're in a must-win situation," Dunlop said. "We need to come out and play our A-game tonight." The Americans were beat more by themselves than Switzerland's Claudio Pescia rink. Back-to-back steals in the middle of the game proved to be costly as the U.S. slipped to 5-5 in the standings as Pescia drew the four-foot in the 10th end for only the team's third win of the tournament. The U.S. started strong with Brown making draws for two points each time the Americans had the last rock advantage but once the fourth end rolled around, the momentum had swung in favor of the Swiss. "It just seemed like the first few ends we were playing great and had trouble after that," Dunlop said. Trouble indeed as Brown's final stone in the fifth end was short giving the Swiss a steal of one. The woes continued as Brown tried to draw down into a nest of stones around the four-foot in the sixth end and rolled out of scoring position handing two more points to Switzerland as they took a 6-4 advantage. "We had a couple of missed sweep calls and gave the Swiss an opportunity to stay in the game," Dunlop said. "We had difficulty executing our shots, and they took advantage of that." Brown tied the game with a takeout for two points in the seventh end and then held the Swiss to a single. The ninth end proved critical as the U.S. needed to score more than one to put pressure on the Swiss but Brown was forced to draw for one after missing a takeout on a Swiss stone buried behind a center guard with his first throw. The U.S. had a chance to steal the 10th end as the Swiss had difficulty peeling the guards the U.S. put up but Pescia, the 44-year-old private banker and wealth manager from Wettswil, Switzerland, made the draw to end his team's run here at the 2008 World Men's Championship. Valuable Olympic-qualifying points are on the line as teams fight to earn berths for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Teams accumulate points at the three world championships leading up to the Olympic Games where 10 teams will compete for the gold. The Page Playoffs get underway at 2 p.m. Friday. The No. 1 seed plays the No. 2 seed with the winner advancing to Sunday's gold-medal game. The No. 3 and No. 4 teams battle to play in the semifinal against the loser of the 1-2 game. The loser of the semifinal and the 3-4 game lock horns in the bronze medal game Saturday night. Live webstreaming of the 2008 World Men's Championship can be found at www.wcsn.com or www.curltv.com. CBS College Sports Network will air a two-hour program from the 2008 Men's Worlds from 8-10 p.m. ET on May 1. Game scores: Switzerland 8, USA 7; France 10, Czech Republic 3; China 8, Norway 7 (extra end); Scotland 5, Germany 3 USA line score: *USA 202 000 201 0 7 Switzerland 010 212 010 1 8 *last stone in first end Standings: *Canada 9-1 *Scotland 7-3 *China 7-4 Norway 6-4 France 6-5 USA 5-5 Australia 5-5 Germany 5-6 Denmark 4-6 Sweden 3-7 Switzerland 3-8 Czech Republic 2-8 *clinched a playoff berth USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).