(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) - It was an Alps-size disaster for Team USA as the Swiss team led by Mirjam Ott put the Americans on the respirator towards qualifying for the playoffs with an 8-2 defeat Wednesday afternoon at the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women's Curling Championship.
Ott missed her first two shots of the competition but would make pretty much everything after that in defeating Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.). With two games remaining in the round robin, the Americans need to win out and have some help from other nations in order to even think about the possibility of making a run at the playoffs. Playing with their backs against the wall all week, the steam was finally released from the kettle.
"We were just a little off," Pottinger said. "We had a draw to the back eight-foot that was make-able, and after that I think the pressure of needing to win really got to us."
The loss halts the four-game win streak the Americans were on since beginning the competition 0-4.
What started out positively today - a steal of one in the first end - quickly turned ugly. After Ott made a takeout for two points in the second end, the Americans would give up six straight points over the next five ends as they were forced to play very aggressively to try to score points.
"When they stole that two we just went so aggressive wanting to get a deuce," Pottinger said in reference to the third end result. "We left Deb with tougher shots, and you need to make some of those for the big result. You either get a bunch or fall further behind. It's a double-edged sword really."
A sloppy fourth end resulted in McCormick needing to make a miracle raise with her final stone but the angle really wasn't there and the Swiss stole another single. The Swiss would continue to dominate leading into the fifth. McCormick needed to make a double takeout with her final stone but rolled her shooter out and jammed the second stone to give up another steal of one.
Ott's triple takeout thwarted a decent end in the sixth, which ended ugly as McCormick's final draw over-curled, or possibly picked, and resulted in a steal of two. The Swiss kept the house uncluttered in the seventh end with the U.S. scoring a single and conceding the win to the Swiss, which improve to 5-3.
The U.S. concludes the round robin Thursday with games against Scotland (4-4) and Denmark (7-1). The Danes handed Canada's Jennifer Jones rink its second loss with a last-rock defeat of the defending champions.
"We'd like to finish with two more wins and move forward and take what we learned," Pottinger said.
Game scores: Switzerland 8, USA 2; China 8, Germany 2; Russia 7, Norway 2; Denmark 7, Canada 5
Team USA line score:
USA 100 000 1xx x 2
Switzerland 022 112 0xx x 8
*last rock in first end
Universal Sports will air 12 hours of TV coverage from Gangneung, featuring the following games:
* March 28: USA vs. Canada, 7 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* March 28, USA vs. Sweden*, 10 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* March 29: semifinal or bronze-medal, 7 p.m. ET
* March 29: Final, 10 p.m. ET
*featured game may change
For more information about Universal Sports TV in your area, visit http://www.universalsports.tv/Universal_Sports_on_TV.html
In addition, video-on-demand webstreaming from several of the games are posted atwww.universalsports.com. Live end-by-end scoring from the World Women's Championship is available online at http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. All times posted are local (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone; GMT + 9 hours).