The U.S. Olympic Team Curling Trials rolled on Monday at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska, with its busiest day of action thus far.
There were four featured matchups for Day 4. On the men's side, Team Brundidge took on Team Ruohonen while Team Shuster wrapped up the day's action against Team Dunnam. On the women's side, Team Sinclair served as the day's first featured matchup in a tilt against Team Peterson. Team Strouse also took on Team Christensen in the evening draw.
Below is a roundup of Monday's featured matchups along with on-demand replays.
Team Sinclair vs. Team Peterson
Jamie Sinclair's squad had a rough go of things to start off the Trials, losing two of their first three contests. Unfortunately, Team Sinclair fell yet again Monday morning to Team Peterson by a score of 8-7.
Team Sinclair got off to an admirable start, earning points in each of the game's first three ends. However, the Tabitha Peterson-led group came alive after falling into the early 3-0 hole, holding Sinclair and company to just four points in the remainder of the contest.
Team Sinclair led 7-6 at the start of the 10th end, but Peterson nailed her final throw of the tilt to earn her team a pair of points and seal the victory.
Elsewhere in the women's fourth draw, Team Rhyme took down Team Strouse for a thrilling 10-9 victory decided on the final throw of the game. Team Rhyme was down 9-4 going into the eighth end, but stormed back with six points in the final three ends to complete the comeback. On Sheet D, Cory Christensen and company took down Team Bear by a score of 8-5.
Team Brundidge vs. Team Ruohonen
Team Brundidge's tilt against Team Ruohonen in the afternoon session was a battle of two of the Trials' bottom-dwellers. Both teams entered the contest with a combined record of 1-7 with Team Brundidge still seeking its first win.
Despite a strong effort, Jed Brundidge and company were yet again unable to chalk up that elusive first victory. Team Ruohonen took a 5-1 lead into the game's midway point, and Team Brundidge was never able to recover.
Team Brundidge conceded after the ninth end, cementing the 5-2 win for Rich Ruohonen's squad.
On a separate sheet, Team Persinger took down Team Dunnam by a score of 8-7. Their tilt went down to the final throw as Team Dunnam made a late push to complete the comeback, but Greg Persinger and company held them off and squeaked out the tiebreaking point to earn the victory.
Meanwhile, John Shuster's group continued its winning streak with an 8-7 win over Team Dropkin. It didn't come easy, though. Team Shuster was down 3-0 after three ends, but they went on a 7-2 run in the following six ends before Team Dropkin tied the game in the 10th, sending it to the extra end. Team Dropkin had a pair of stones stationed right near the button before Shuster's final throw, but Shuster sent a perfectly placed stone into the house that earned them the winning point to improve their record to 5-0.
Team Strouse vs. Team Christensen
In Draw 5 of the women's tournament, Team Christensen faced off against Team Strouse in what ended up being a back-and-forth game.
Cory Christensen's squad looked to be in good shape after taking a 4-3 lead into the eighth end, but Team Strouse quickly turned the tables with a three-point end. Suddenly down 6-4 entering the final two frames, Team Christensen bounced back to score two points in the ninth end to tie up the game. Then in the final end, a perfectly-placed shot from Christensen on her team's last throw sealed the deal, as there was little that Team Strouse could do despite having the hammer. As a result, Team Christensen took two points and finished with an 8-6 win.
Tabitha Peterson's rink was also victorious during this draw, needing just seven ends to secure a 9-3 victory over Team Bear. With the double round-robin now halfway completed, Team Christensen and Team Peterson have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the field with 4-1 records.
Team Rhyme is still in the hunt but now sits a game back of the leaders in the win column after dropping their game against Team Sinclair by a score of 8-5. That'll make Tuesday's matchup with Team Peterson an important one as Kim Rhyme's team tries to get into the top two and ultimately qualify for the finals.
Team Shuster vs. Team Dunnam
John Shuster's rink moved another step closer toward qualifying for the men's finals after defeating Team Dunnam during the day's last round of matchups.
The game was tied at 3-3 through four ends before Shuster's team went on a roll with four points in the fifth, one point in the sixth, and three points in the seventh end. Staring down an 11-3 deficit, Scott Dunnam's team conceded the game after that seventh end, and Team Shuster improved their perfect record to 6-0.
Meanwhile, Team Persinger did what they needed to do to stay in the top two, defeating Team Brundidge 8-2 in just six ends and improving their record to 4-2. With four games left to play in the double round-robin, Greg Persinger's squad now sits alone in second place but has a pivotal matchup with Team Shuster still to come on Wednesday.
Team Dropkin's hopes of making it into the finals hit a setback after they lost to Team Ruohonen 11-8 in Draw 6's most competitive game. The result moved both teams to 3-3, one game out of second place but still in the hunt for a top-two spot. That adds extra pressure and extra significance to Tuesday's matchups — Dropkin plays Persinger, Ruohonen plays Shuster — for both rinks.
Tuesday's featured matchups:
- W6: Team Peterson vs. Team Rhyme (10 a.m. ET)
- M7: Team Persinger vs. Team Dropkin (3 p.m. ET)
- W7: Team Sinclair vs. Team Strouse (8 p.m. ET)