U.S. men's WWUG Trials underway

Nov. 14, 2008, 1:57 p.m. (ET)
STEVENS POINT, Wis. - The fourth-seeded North Dakota squad led by Jerad Daul upended the No. 1-seeded Jerod Roland rink, 10-5, in the opening round of the 2009 World University Games Trials Thursday night at the Rice Lake Curling Club in Rice Lake, Wis.

Daul (Fargo, N.D.) and teammates Evan Workin (Fargo, N.D.) Parker Shook (Horace, N.D.) and Weston Porchardt (Fargo, N.D.) started strong with a deuce in the first end. After holding Roland (Petersburg, N.D.) and teammates Benjamin Wilson (Hibbing, Minn.), Stephen Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) and Cooper Smith (Bismarck, N.D.) to a single in the second end, Team Daul added one more point in the third and stole a game-changing three in the fourth end. Roland's team tried to stay in the game scoring two in the fifth end to cut the deficit to 6-3, but Daul's team scored three more points in the sixth end to put the game out of reach.

On the adjacent sheet of ice, Chris Pleasants led his Washington team to a 10-5 victory of their own over Brad Caldwell's team from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Pleasants (Seattle) and teammates Zachary Radmer (Seattle), Jon Chartrand (Seattle) and Bret Nordlund (Issaquah, Wash.) fell behind early to Caldwell's four-some as the 2008 U.S. Junior Nationals bronze medalists scored three points to open up the game. Trailing 4-1 after three ends, Pleasants' team put it into high gear scoring four points over the next three ends to take a 5-4 lead.

Caldwell (Mapleton, Minn.) and teammates Matthew Collom (Galesville, Wis.), Tyler Vietanen (Trempealeau, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Mapleton, Minn.) could only score a single in the seventh end and would be kept off the scoreboard thereafter. The Washington team answered with three in the eighth and a steal of two in the ninth end to seal the victory.

The four teams return to the ice at 12 p.m. CT today. Live end-by-end scoring from the event can be found online at http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks/. The double round robin continues through Sunday. The team with the best record will be named Team USA.

The U.S. women's team is composed of Katherine Stewart (Minneapolis), Amanda McLean (Duluth, Minn.), Casey Cucchiarelli (Wausau, Wis.) and Sarah Mcleod (Esko, Minn.). A playdown wasn't necessary as this was the lone team signed up for the event. McLean is the only athlete with international experience. She won the 2004 U.S. junior title and placed fourth at the 2004 World Junior Championships. Stewart has appeared in the past three U.S. Junior Nationals, with her highest finish coming in 2007 when she led her team to a fourth-place finish.

The winning men's team will join the Stewart rink, pending approval from the United States Olympic Committee, at the 2009 Winter WUG Feb. 20-27 in Harbin, China. This is the third time that curling will be featured as a medal sport at the winter universiad.

Jerad Daul (North Dakota) 1-0
Chris Pleasants (Washington) 1-0
Brad Caldwell (Minnesota) 0-1
Jerod Roland (North Dakota) 0-1

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