CURLING: Wisconsin 1 women clinch title at 2008 U.S. Juniors

Feb. 09, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 9, 2008 Wisconsin 1 women capture title at 2008 Junior Nationals (PORTAGE, Wis.) - Wisconsin's Nina Spatola is headed back to the World Junior Championships after getting the better of Alex Carlson's Minnesota team 6-4 Saturday afternoon at the 2008 U.S. Junior National Championships. Spatola, who won the junior title in 2006 and finished 10th at the World Junior Championships that same year, is hoping to make a better run this time around. "I'm very excited to get a second chance to go back to Junior Worlds and play well," Spatola said. "It hasn't really sunk in yet." This is the first junior title for teammates Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Karlie Koenig (Waukesha, Wis.), Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) and Anna Plys (Duluth, Minn.). They'll represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Junior Championships March 1-8 in Ostersund, Sweden. Carlson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) and teammates Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.) take home the silver in the team's second appearance at Junior Nationals. After the first end was blanked, Carlson's Minnesota team had a deuce set up until Spatola came down with a double takeout to force Carlson to make the takeout for one. Wisconsin got a deuce set up after a miss by Carlson but Spatola rolled out her shooter and settled for just one. After blanking the fourth end, Carlson couldn't nudge enough of Spatola's stone in the four-foot and gave up a steal of one. It was the seventh end that proved to be the game-changer as Spatola made a gutsy call for a soft hit and roll off her own stone to tap out the Minnesota rock for three points to take a 5-2 advantage. Carlson had a chance for two in the eighth end but couldn't get enough on her draw as it stayed out wide. Minnesota stole a point in the ninth end to set up a dramatic finish. In the 10th end, Carlson drew down behind a guard with her last stone but Spatola followed her in for the win by just an inch. "I got really nervous as every shot kept getting closer and closer to the end and those guards scared the crap out of me," said Spatola of the set-up in the final end. "I was thinking that I better hit the eight foot. I knew my sweepers could take it the rest of the way. I'm really proud of my girls." Women's gold medal game: Minnesota 1 (Carlson)* 010 001 011 0 4 Wisconsin 1 (Spatola) 001 010 300 1 6 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).