Minnesota men, women cruise to finals at 2009 US Junior Nationals

Feb. 14, 2009, 10:51 a.m. (ET)
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (Feb. 14, 2009) - Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) took another step toward winning his fourth straight and fifth overall junior title by advancing to the championship final with a convincing 8-3 win over Aaron Wald tonight at the 2009 U.S. Junior National Championships at the Lake Region Curling Club.

Plys and teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) move on to tomorrow's final at noon and will play the winner of tomorrow morning's semifinal game between Wald and Blake Morton's Wisconsin II rink. Morton (McFarland, Wis.) and his Madison Curling Club teammates Marcus Fonger, Tommy Juszczyk and Calvin Weber stole a single in the extra end to eliminate Washington's Sean Beighton rink, 9-8, and move on to the men's semifinal in the team's first appearance at the Junior Nationals.

Alex Carlson's Minnesota I women's team took full advantage of steal opportunities in taking down No. 1 seeded Nina Spatola of Wisconsin I, 9-3. Spatola started with the last-rock advantage but it was Carlson (Wayzata, Minn.) and teammates Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.) who scored in the opening end, a steal of two. Spatola, the defending champion, would tie the game with a deuce in the second end but wouldn't score again until the seventh end. In between, Carlson earned a single in the third end and then stole deuces in the next three ends to shut down Wisconsin I. The Minnesota women move on to tomorrow's championship final - a game they lost last year to Spatola.

In the women's Page Playoff 3-4 game, Wisconsin II's Miranda Schieber outlasted Miranda Solem's Minnesota II team, 6-5. Solem's rink was playing its third game of the day after winning consecutive tiebreakers just to get to tonight's playoff game. Schieber (Portage, Wis.) and teammates Karlie Koenig (Waukesha, Wis.), Leila Smith (Andover, Mass.) and Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) just needed to score one point with the game tied 5-5 heading into the 10th end and that's just what they did to move on to tomorrow's semifinal match-up with Spatola. Schieber's Wisconsin II team handed Spatola her lone loss during the round robin, 9-3.

The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the 2009 World Junior Championships March 5-15 in Vancouver, British Columbia. This event serves as the test event for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games curling action.

Final scores from the 2009 U.S. Junior Championships can be found at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks.

Line scores:
Men's 1-2 page playoff:
*Minnesota I (Plys) 402 101 0xx x 8
Minnesota II (Wald) 010 010 1xx x 3

Women's 1-2 page playoff:
Minnesota I (Carlson) 201 222 0xx x 9
*Wisconsin I (Spatola) 020 000 1xx x 3

Men's 3-4 page playoff:
Wisconsin II (Morton) 002 102 020 11 9
*Washington (Beighton) 030 010 301 00 8

Women's 3-4 page playoff:
Minnesota II (Solem) 010 101 101 0 5
*Wisconsin II (Schieber) 101 020 010 1 6
*last rock in first end

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