GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – Despite the score, Nina Roth and her teammates came away from Wednesday’s defeat with some optimism. During a 10-5 loss to Japan in their opening game of the Olympic women’s curling tournament, the U.S. foursome improved as the game progressed, leaving them confident heading into Thursday’s game against Great Britain.
Roth and her teammates — Tabitha Peterson of Eagan, Aileen Geving of Duluth and Becca Hamilton of McFarland, Wis. — returned to the Olympic Village to binge-watch “Stranger Things” and get a good night’s sleep. Revitalized, they beat Great Britain 7-4 in a back-and-forth game Thursday to even their record at 1-1. The U.S. continues play in the Olympic round robin Thursday evening against Switzerland.
In the opener, the U.S. fell behind 7-0 after three ends and came close to conceding early. It chose to keep playing so it could get a better feel for a tricky ice surface at Gangneung Curling Centre. That set the Americans up for a better day Thursday, one in which they outlasted British skip Eve Muirhead, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist.
“We were a lot sharper [against Great Britain],” Peterson said. “It was pretty close, but I felt like we were in control for most of the game. We were able to stay levelheaded out there, trusting the ice and your weights that you’ve been throwing all game.”
In Wednesday’s nine-end loss, the U.S. did not score until the fourth end and trailed 8-1 after five. But it found its scoring touch late, a turnaround that buoyed Roth and her teammates.
They responded much quicker Thursday. Great Britain scored first, but the U.S. earned two points in the third end to move ahead 2-1. After multiple lead changes and ties, the Americans clung to a 5-4 lead going into the 10th and final end.
They closed out the game with a steal of two points as Roth shot 88 percent for the game — the best of any woman in Thursday morning’s session.
“We hung on for our lives in that last end,” U.S. coach Al Hackner said. “Any one miss by our team in that last end, and we would have lost the game. They all came through with their shots.”