Russian Curling Team Women |

February 19, 2010 by Post Team 

Russian Curling Team WomenRussian Curling Team Women | U.S Olympic Women’s Curling team broke the jinx, defeating Russia 6–4. The Americans continued to miss key shots, but made the all-important final shot to break their losing streak and restore some of their shaken confidence.

The Russian young squad—their average age just over 21—had lost two iof its three matches, and had elected to change its lineup, promoting 19-year-old Anna Sidorova to skip. The Americans stuck with their original lineup, having faith they had the skill and would get it together mentally eventually.

After the game Debbie McCormick talked to an NBC reporter: “It feels great to win. I kind of thought once we got over the hump, it’s going to be easier We have five games ahead of us. I feel like it’s one down, five to go.”

Nicole Joraanstad chimed in: “We’re just so excited! We played strong and we knew if we kept playing strong and smart, that a win would come our way. Now we just need to run a couple more off.”

Rocky Start

The teams blanked the first two ends, then each scored one in the next two, entering the fifth frame tied at one. U.S. Skip Debbie McCormick continued to struggle with both weight and placement.

The fifth end opened with the U.S. and Russian at one. The U.S. team, holding the hammer, set guards and tried to bury a rock behind them, but Russia hit a double takeout and then, on the next shot cleared the house. Allison Pottinger tried to bury a draw behind a Russian guard, and was semi-successful.
Russia’s next shot was weak; all four Russians were up sweeping, coaxing the rock into the house, but it stopped one inch shy of being shot rock (closest rock to the center.)
This was a huge break for the U.S. team, a chance to open a good lead, but U.S. skip Debbie McCormick missed everything, sending her shot out the back of the house.

Luckily for the U.S. squad, Russian Skip Anna Sidorova also missed badly, striking her own guard and leaving the Americans lying one with last shot. This time McCormick guessed a bit better on the weight; it took diligent sweeping, but the stone crept into the eight-foot ring, putting America up two.

The sixth round was blank, but McCormick continued to miss shots when the U.S. had a chance to capitalize on Russian errors.

Russia came back in the seventh to score two, tying the game. America had the hammer in the eighth end, but could only manage one point. Russia played a bit too conservatively in the ninth end, scoring only one to tie the game.

McCormick Comes Through
In the final end, with hammer in hand, the U.S. team had its chance to break its losing streak.

The Russians came out trying to set guards so they could later bury a shot and steal the end. The end was even until Allison Pottinger missed, peeling a guard when she needed to take out the Russian shot rock.

Privikov, shooting for Russia, couldn’t capitalize, playing a draw into the four-foot circle but leaving it exposed. Pottinger redeemed herself for her miss by taking out the Russian shot rock leaving the U.S. lying one.

Russia’s brand-new skip Anna Sidorova made a beautiful hit-and-roll, taking out the U.S shot rock and rolling into the other U.S. rock leaving Russia lying two, with one rock buried.

U.S. skip Debbie McCormick elected to draw to the back of the four-foot circle, leaving her rock only partially covered. This was an opening for the Russians, who immediately called a timeout to discuss strategy.

McCormick commented on her choice of a draw for her second-to-last shot, instead of the more conventional choice of peeling the guards to expose the Russian rock: “Usually I like to play a draw because I feel like my last shot’s going to be a draw, so it gives me practice. I felt if we got it nicely buried in there it would put a lot of pressure on Russia. We didn’t even talk about peeling it—I just like to have a practice draw.”

Anna Sidorova elected to draw to the button, and she did but her shot didn’t curl quite enough to be covered.

This put the game in McCormick’s hands. The U.S. skip, who had missed so many shots, set up, then paused, collecting herself.

“When I cleaned my rock, I didn’t feel good,” McCormick explained. “I kept telling myself, ‘If it doesn’t feel good, if it’s not good in my hand, just redo it.’ It was a bid pressure shot—it was the game on the line, and I wanted to make that for our team.”

Thoughts collected, McCormick crouched, pushed of, and released a perfect shot, taking out the Russian rock and giving America two points for the win.

The U.S. Women’s curling team faces the British squad next, led by 19-year-olD skip Eve Muirhead, who has been making phenomenal shots all through the Games. McCormick seemed unfazed:” I think we just build off of what we did today and the smart game that we called and executed, and we’ll do the same tomorrow.”

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