Brown and Sormunen rinks to meet in Page playoffs

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 18, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 18, 2015

Sormunen, Brown to play in Page 1-2 game at 2015 USA Curling National Championships

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) - Aileen Sormunen and Erika Brown will meet in the Page 1-2 playoff game tomorrow night at the 2015 USA Curling National Championships at Wings Stadium.

Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Brown (Oakville, Ontario) and Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) ended the round robin with matching 8-1 records. The first tiebreaking criteria is head-to-head but all three were 1-1 so the top two teams with the best cumulative draw shot challenge scores - Sormunen and Brown - earned the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively. Christensen will be the third seed and Patti Lank's team, which lost to Christensen's rink, 10-3, will be the No. 4 seed. 

The winner of the Page 1-2 game advances directly to Saturday's gold-medal game. The losing side plays the winner of the Page 3-4 game in Friday afternoon's semifinal with the winner becoming the second finalist on Saturday.  

As a result of getting into the Page 1-2 game, Sormunen and her team of Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Monica Walker (Brighton, Mass.), and Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) are guaranteed enough Order of Merit points to be named Team USA for the 2015 World Women's Championship. 

First off the ice tonight was the Brown rink after earning a 6-1 victory over Nina Roth's team. Brown (Oakville, Ontario) and teammates Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Rebecca Funk (McFarland, Wis.), and Kendall Behm (Bethesda, Md.).

Christensen and teammates Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.) and Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) then defeated Lank with a steal of three points. Sormunen sewed up the top seed with a takeout to defeat Kate Bert, 6-4. In other women's competition, Debbie McCormick poured on the offense to defeat Kim Wapola, 12-5, and Jordan Moulton took Joyance Meechai to an extra end to earn a 7-5 victory.

In the afternoon draw, John Shuster (7-1) and Craig Brown (6-2) secured playoff berths while Heath McCormick (5-3) took another step closer.

"We've just been playing well," said Brown, who won the national title in 2008 and 2000. "We've been making a lot of shots up and down the lineup so it's been pretty straightforward for me because the guys in front of me have been playing well. We haven't been put in very much trouble." 

Shuster's team maintained its spot atop the standings with a 7-5 win over Brady Clark (3-5). Brown's team earned win number six after converting a double takeout to score seven points and shut down the Ethan Meyers rink.

"Well, I thought we were going to win, but I also think we're gonna win all the games. It doesn't always happen that way. They're young, they're good but they're young. I was there too and I knew that eventually we'd get a chance, and we got a couple chances. They just made good shots to get out of them. But in that last end we made everything perfect and they just couldn't get the right shot," Brown said about scoring seven points against the reigning U.S. junior champions who've been playing without their skip the past two days due to illness. 

McCormick's team defeated Brandon Corbett (4-4) to get in better position to try to advance as Team USA for the upcoming world championships in Nova Scotia. Three teams are tied for the fourth spot - Korey Dropkin, Corbett, and Dean Gemmell - with one game remaining in the round robin tomorrow at 8 a.m. ET. In the other men's afternoon match-up, it was the battle of the elder skips as Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.) got past Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.), 9-2.

The Page playoffs get underway for the women on Thursday evening. The top two teams will square off in the Page 1-2 game with the winner advancing to Saturday's gold-medal game. The losing side in that battle will play the winner of the game between the third- and fourth-ranked teams in Friday's semifinal. The winner of the semifinal then becomes the second finalist on Saturday. Watch it all live at www.usacurl.org. 

Game scores (women, 8 p.m.): Erika Brown 6, Nina Roth 1; Debbie McCormick 12, Kim Wapola 5; Aileen Sormunen 6, Kate Bert 4; Jordan Moulton 7, Joyance Meechai 5

Game scores (men, 4 p.m.): Heath McCormick 6, Brandon Corbett 4; Craig Brown 11, Ethan Meyers 4; John Shuster 7, Brady Clark 5; Korey Dropkin 4, Dean Gemmell 3; Paul Pustovar 9, Mark Haluptzok 2

Game scores (women, 12 p.m.): Erika Brown 9, Jordan Moulton 3; Cory Christensen 11, Kim Wapola 6; Patti Lank 11, Kate Bert 4; Aileen Sormunen 7, Debbie McCormick 6 (extra end); Nina Roth 9, Joyance Meechai 1

Game scores (men, 8 a.m.): John Shuster 8, Craig Brown 7; Brandon Corbett 5, Ethan Meyers 4; Dean Gemmell 10, Paul Pustovar 6; Heath McCormick 8, Korey Dropkin 3; Brady Clark 7, Mark Haluptzok 4

Standings (women):
Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.) 8-1*
Erika Brown (Oakville, Ontario) 8-1*
Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) 8-1*
Patti Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) 6-3*
Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) 4-5
Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.) 4-5
Kate Bert (Cedarburg, Wis.) 3-6
Jordan Moulton (Minneapolis, Minn.) 2-7
Joyance Meechai (New York City) 1-8
Kim Wapola (St. Paul, Minn.) 1-8

Standings (men):
John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) 7-1*
Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) 6-2*
Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) 5-3
Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.) 4-4
Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) 4-4
Dean Gemmell (Short Hills, N.J.) 4-4
Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) 3-5
Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.) 3-5
Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.) 3-5
Ethan Meyers (Duluth, Minn.) 1-7
*clinched playoff berth

Along with declaring the new national champions for USA Curling, this event will also determine who will represent the U.S. at the 2015 World Curling Championships. In contrast to years past, the World teams will not automatically be the winners of the Nationals. Last season a points-based Order of Merit system was implemented based on team results at major competitions throughout the season, including the 2015 Nationals. The 2015 World representatives will be the men's and women's teams with the most points that finish in the top three at the 2015 Nationals. To view the current Order of Merit Standings, go to http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Events/Championships/National-Events/National-Championships/OOM. 

The 2015 Women's World Championship will take place March 14-22 in Sapporo, Japan, while the 2015 Ford World Men's Championship will be staged March 28-April 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The official Twitter hashtags for the event are #2015Nats and #curling. USA Curling will post updates and photos to its Facebook page as well at https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011. 

Media credentials can be requested at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Events/Championships/National-Events/National-Championships.

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

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, Director of Communications, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).