There were wins for Finland, Korea and United States in Sunday morning’s opening round-robin session of the Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Event, being held in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
Finland faced Latvia and the teams went into the break with Latvia holding a 3-2 lead, thanks largely to an opening steal of two in the first end. In the fifth end, Finland’s Oona Kauste played a take-out for three points. It took an umpire’s measure to decide it was only three points and the Finns took a 5-3 lead.
A complete miss with her last stone of the sixth by Latvia’s Daina Barone gave Finland a steal of one more point to extend their lead to 6-3. A further steal of two in the seventh increased Finland’s lead to 8-3 and Latvia conceded the game.
Afterwards, Finland’s Aku Kauste said, “The start was quite shaky, we had a couple of big misses in the first couple of ends. It could have been an easier game but in the end, we played pretty well considering everything. There’s lots of pressure for everyone. I think we should be able to handle it – but we’ll see.”
Korea were up against New Zealand and despite missing on a raise take-out attempt, opened with a score of two points. The New Zealanders scored one point in the second end and then had a single-point steal in the third to level the game at 2-2. In the fourth end, Korea’s Kim Minji played a tap onto the button and a measure gave her team one point and a 3-2 halfway lead. Korea went on to use their power play to score three points in the seventh end to win the game by 7-3.
After the game, Korea coach Wade Scoffin said, “That win is great, and we also had a very good last stone draw. In these competitions that’s such a determining factor as well.”
The third game of the session saw United States play Japan. United States already held a 4-2 lead when, in the fourth end, Vicky Persinger tapped in her last stone to lie one. Japan’s Chiaki Matsumura then missed a take-out attempt, to give United States a steal of one and a 5-2 lead.
United States called their power play in the sixth end and scored three points with a nose-hit by Persinger, to take an 8-3 lead. Japan responded with three during their own power play in the seventh end, but ran out of stones in the eighth, to give United States an 8-6 win.
After this victory, American player, Chris Plys said, “That was really important. We knew Japan was going to be tough. They’re all important wins.” His partner Vicky Persinger added, “it was important to score in the power play. We wanted to make sure we put some points on the board, so we’re happy with that.”
In Group B, Estonia had the bye and have yet to play.
Session one results: Korea 7-3 New Zealand; United States 8-6 Japan; Latvia 3-8 Finland
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