USA Curling

USA playoff hopes dashed

By Terry Kolesar | March 20, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2014

USA's playoff hopes dashed at 2014 Women's World Championship 

(SAINT JOHN, NB, Canada) - USA's hopes for making a playoff run were dashed this morning with a last-rock loss to Korea at the 2014 Ford World Women's Curling Championship presented by Booster Juice.

"We were very, very close. We lost four heartbreakers this week," said Derek Brown, head coach for Team USA. "Performance-wise we were right in it every game except the game against Canada when we struggled with the rocks and got behind early."

Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and teammates Nicole Joraanstad (Verona, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.), and Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) had a 10th end steal set up to win the game but the final stone over-curled and Korea's Jisun Kim rink held on for the 8-6 victory.

"We're just struggling...me a little bit, especially with broom. We had the steal swallowed up in that last end, I just had to keep my guard on the other side of center line and it curled," Pottinger said. "It's broom ... execution ... mostly on my part." 

The U.S. team finishes out the round robin this afternoon against Scotland (2-7). The highest the U.S. team can finish is sixth. 

"All of our games have been tight. The games against Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, and today all went to the last rock," Brown said. "We missed a couple of shots for twos in some of those games and lost a measure in the first end of the Sweden game that would have given us a shot at four. We missed too many opportunities."

With Un Chi Gim throwing last rocks, the Korean team improved to 7-3 and is still holding out hope for a playoff run of their own.

"The ice was very difficult and sometimes it would go straight and sometimes there would be more curl," said Kim, who skipped Korea at the 2014 Olympic Games last month. "Now we need another win. We hope to go to the playoffs, but the next game will be important. We must win to have a chance."

The U.S. took command of the game early but a big momentum shift in the fifth end put Korea in control of their destiny. 

The U.S. got out to a quick lead in this morning's game as Gim was light with her final draw and took a 2-0 lead. A double takeout by Pottinger with her final stone left an American rock perfectly hidden behind a center guard that ended up being another stolen point for the U.S.

Korea was forced to a single in the third end feeling the pressure of the U.S. potentially stealing two more points. The U.S. answered its own pressure situation in the following end as the Americans last stone squeezed past a center guard to remove a rock on the button for a point. 

Trailing 4-1, Korea came battling back in the fifth end and capitalized on a series of half shots by the Americans to make a takeout worth four points to get their first lead of the game. Korea went right on the attack out of the fifth-end break, getting stones piled in the four-foot. The U.S. failed to move them both and by the time Pottinger threw her final stone, she was looking at three guards, two Korean stones around the four-foot and many other stones scattered about the rings. Her final tap attempt really didn't have a chance to score and Korea earned the single steal.

In the seventh end, the U.S. had another difficult soft-weight tap-back attempt on a stone buried behind a corner guard to earn a deuce but the Americans walked away with just a single. The eighth end was blanked and the U.S. ladies tied the game with a single steal in the ninth when Gim's final takeout also removed her shooter stone so the U.S. rock hanging off the side of the back of the house was left as the scoring point.

The U.S. had the single steal set up in the 10th end after Korea missed a takeout on the stone Joraanstad placed in the top of the four-foot. Pottinger used her final stone to try to cover it back up but it ended up curling into a spot that did nothing to help the American cause. Gim then had a clear look at the shot rock with her first stone. Pottinger was left to attempt an angle tap but the stone rubbed a guard and Gim did not have to throw her final stone with the winning points already in position.

"Certainly in the fourth end they had that nice one glued to us in the center. And then they got one under cover. We took the risk and tried to play the double and Nicole made a nice shot. They just happened to make a nice shot after that," Pottinger said about the game-changing fourth end. "Then we didn't have the broom in the right spot for the last two and all of a sudden it was a four. That certainly is a momentum switch, which I think explains what happened in the game."

Had the U.S. team held on to defeat Korea, a tiebreaker game situation faded away as Russia and Sweden both earned wins out of this morning's draw. Canada leads the pack at 8-1 followed by a three-way tie for second place amongst Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. Korea, at 7-3, needs a win and losses by teams above them to force a tiebreaker game. Sweden defeated China, 10-5, while Russia handed Switzerland its second loss, 8-5. In the only game without playoff implications, Germany earned its second win of the week after getting past Latvia, 6-4. 

USA line score:
*Korea 001 041 000 2 - 8 
USA 210 100 101 0 - 6 
*last rock in first end

Draw 15 results: Korea 8, USA 6; Russia 8, Switzerland 5; Germany 6, Latvia 4; Sweden 10, China 5

Standings:
Canada (Homan) 8-1
Russia (Sidorova) 8-2
Sweden (Sigfridsson) 8-2
Switzerland (Feltscher) 8-2
Korea (Kim) 7-3
China (Liu) 6-4
USA (Pottinger) 5-5
Czech Republic (Kubeskova) 2-7
Scotland (Barr) 2-7
Germany (Lehmann) 2-8
Denmark (Dupont) 1-8
Latvia (Regza) 1-9

2018 Olympic Qualification:

In addition, the 2014 World Curling Championships mark the start of a new qualification period for the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. All WCF member associations competing in Saint John and at the 2014 World Men's Curling Championship in Beijing later this month will be eligible to enter the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event, which is scheduled to take place in December 2017 should they not make it to the 2018 Olympic Games on direct qualification.

TV & Webstream:

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, is providing extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Saint John. WCF broadcast partners for the event include TV4 in Sweden, Russia 2 in Russia, CCTV in China, Universal Sports Network in the USA, SporTV in Brazil, TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec).

In addition, selected live coverage of the 2014 World Championship events is available via the World Curling Federation's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV.

Event information links:
www.curling.ca/2014worldwomen-en/
www.worldcurling.org
www.usacurl.org 

Social media:
Facebook, USA Curling: https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011 
Facebook, event: www.facebook.com/WorldWomensCurlingChampionship
Twitter Hashtags: #FWWCC #curling

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, press officer, Team USA, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900.

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