Philly Sports Live

Day 2 at the 2014 US Curling Nationals

The first full day of action at the Aston IceWorks came and went with a flourish.  At the end of it, a seven-team log jam crowned the top of the men’s standings, while three women’s teams found themselves at 3-0 with the local favorite hot on their heels.

All of this with a winter storm bearing down on the Delaware Valley, one that has ultimately cancelled one session of play on Monday.  As a result, the men will play just one draw on Monday, and play two draws on Tuesday instead of the scheduled one match.

Coming into the tournament, it was noted how wide open the men’s field was, with eight of the ten teams skipped by previous National champions.  Indeed, after Sunday’s play, the five rinks that won their opening matches on Saturday all split on day two, and two of the clubs, Teams Craig Brown and Tyler George, swept their matches.  When the dust settled, seven teams were at 2-1,and  defending champion Brady Clark’s rink was just one game back at 1-2.

Brown’s rink had possibly the easiest day of everyone, completing just eleven ends on the entire day.  They drubbed Heath McCormick 9-2 in their morning match, and routed Alex Leichter’s side 7-1 in the evening match.  Brown himself was on fire, shooting an incredible 92% and 94% for his two matches.  George, the 2010 National Champion,  began the day with a 9-7 win over Team Paul Pustovar, and ended it with a 7-4 win over the Eric Fenson rink, sending both teams down to 0-3.

Sochi Olympian John Shuster’s day began with a thrilling match against rival rink Pete Fenson; Shuster’s team stole two points from the final three ends to claim a 6-5 victory over the seven time National champion from Bemidji, Minnesota.  Shuster was almost the beneficiary of a time-fault victory in their evening match against Team McCormick.  McCormick’s final shot came with just 11 seconds remaining of the allotted 73 minutes that each team gets to make all of their shots in a match.

Of the five matches tomorrow, Shuster’s match with George and Pete Fenson vs Heath McCormick will be the two to watch, as all are 2-1.  Rochester’s Team Leichter will have a chance to go to 3-1 against Team Pustovar, while Team Brown will lock horns with Team Clark, as the defending champion tries to keep pace with the log jam.

On the women’s side, four teams took both of their Sunday matches, including 2012 National Champion Allison Pottinger, Team Nina Spatola, Team Alex Carlson, and Philadelphia Curling Club’s Team Sarah Anderson.  The Anderson rink began the day with a 6-3 win over North Dakota’s Team Abigayle Lindgren, and then finished it with an upset win over Team Courtney George, a match that saw them come from a 5-2 deficit with two points in the ninth end, and then a stolen two points in the final inning.

For the four Anderson sisters of Broomall who matched their win total at least year’s nationals in a day and a half of competition this year, the chance to persue a national title in the sport that they love in their home town has helped spur them on immensely.

“I have so many people coming up to me and wishing me the best of luck,” Sarah Anderson said. “It’s really nice to have the support from everyone here.”  On playing with her sisters, she continued, “It’s definitely a lot of fun and relaxed.  I really like having Courtney being my vice. We all know what to say to each other if someone is down. We really trust each other so it’s great.”

Team Pottinger started the day locked in a tight match with the team they beat in the 2012 final, Team Cassie Potter.  Pottinger’s rink had a 5-1 lead after five ends, but then had to hang on for a 6-4 win and dropping Team Potter to 1-2.  The 40-year-old skip then guided her team to an easy 10-2 victory over Amy Lou Anderson to complete the day.

Team Alex Carlson needed points in the final end of both of their matches to keep their record unblemished.  Carlson’s rink got two in the tenth to leapfrog Rochester Curling Club’s Caitlin Moraldo in a 9-8 result, and then completed the day by getting the final point in a 7-6 win over Team Lindgren.  Team Nina Spatola, also from St. Paul, had a relatively easy Sunday, posting a 7-2 win over Amy Lou Anderson’s rink before routing Team Moraldo 9-2.

Despite the weather cancellation, the women will still play two draws on Monday.  Sarah Anderson’s side will have two tough matches against Teams Potter and Carlson, and should test the meddle of the teenage skip.  Team Carlson’s first match against Nina Spatola will be the highlight of the opening session.

A reminder again that, should you be heading down to the Aston IceWorks on Monday, that play will begin at noon instead (unless you want to witness the match between Winter Storm Titan and the Icemakers, which you can do from the safety and comfort of your own home).  Tuesday’s play, which was only supposed to include three sessions will now be a full day beginning at 8am and feature both the men and women playing two draws each.

In addition, I’m working on a couple of pieces this week to bring you closer to the action in Aston.  I got he chance to curl today, so I’ll share my experiences, and I’ll be giving you a guide on the ins and outs of the game so that you can enjoy it just that much more.  As for tomorrow, I’ll be there, braving the storm, and bringing you Twitter Coverage @PhillySportLive and @BigBrain61.

Quotes via US Curling Association