CURLING: USA advances to first-ever playoff game at 2008 World Wheelchair Championship

Feb. 07, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 7, 2008 USA takes down Italy to advance to playoffs at 2008 World Wheelchair Championship (SURSEE, Switzerland) - Team USA is headed to its first-ever playoff game at the 2008 World Wheelchair Championship. Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) and teammates James Pierce (North Syracuse, N.Y.), James Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y) and Jacqueline Kapinowski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) defeated Italy's Andrea Tabanelli rink, 6-4, in this morning's tiebreaker game to earn the final playoff spot and the No. 4 seed. They will play Norway tomorrow in the Page Playoff 3-4 game with the winner advancing to the semifinal match to play either Korea (7-2) or Canada (6-3). Those two teams play in the Page Playoff 1-2 game with the winner advancing to the championship final and the loser playing in the semifinal. Down 3-1 with the last rock advantage in the fourth end, the Americans got a stone buried early and capitalized on a risky shot by Tabanelli who tried to run one of his own stones back but ended up moving two other American stones into scoring position to give up a game-changing three points. The Italians would only score one in the fifth end with the Americans securing their first playoff trip with a decisive deuce in the final end. "It was a tough comeback, but we held it together," said Perez, who took up wheelchair curling in 2005 and boasts many other sporting achievements on his resume. "We knew he was going to try the runback. And, we knew he had almost no chance of making it without giving us more than one." The Americans now have a chance to become the first American team to win a medal at the World Wheelchair Championships. The best the U.S. has placed is fifth at both the worlds and Paralympic Winter Games. The International Paralympic Committee will broadcast packaged coverage of Sunday's semifinal and championship final at Line score: Italy* 210 010 4 USA 001 302 6 *last stone in first end Standings: *Korea 7-2 *Canada 6-3 *Norway 6-3 *USA 6-4 Italy 5-5 Sweden 4-5 Scotland 3-6 Switzerland 3-6 Japan 3-6 Russia 3-6 *playoff berth USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).