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U.S. Wins Two Early Curling Matches

February 10, 1998

KARUIZAWA, Japan (AP) _ The United States won’t get swept in curling’s debut as an Olympic medal sport.

The American women and men both were 0-2 in the eight-team round robin competition until winning matches today. The women beat Germany 8-5 and the men rebounded from an 11-3 loss to Canada to defeat Norway 7-6.

The top four teams in each tournament qualify for the semifinals.

The women’s team hasn’t played as poorly as its 1-2 record would indicate, narrowly losing to perennial world champion Canada 7-6 in the first round.

``We are very happy having won and we hope there are more good games for us,″ U.S. skip _ or captain _ Lisa Schoeneberg said. ``After three games, it’s good to know we’ve won at least one. It gives you more confidence.″

The U.S. men were in danger of losing their third in a row until scoring a deuce in the eighth end _ or inning _ and the winning score in the 10th and final end against Norway.

Until then, Canada captain George Karrys sounded disappointed with his rival’s performance, saying his country needs the United States to do well to bring more exposure to a sport whose popularity is centered in Canada.

Curling is nationally televised in Canada, but is almost invisible in the U.S. outside of Minnesota and upper Wisconsin.

``Curling will be big in the U.S. if they could medal,″ Karrys said. ``As long as they are doing well, the dollars will start to build and people will become more aware of the sport.″

In other women’s games, Sweden remained the only unbeaten team (3-0) by beating Denmark 5-4, Canada defeated Japan 7-4 and Britain was a 6-4 winner over Norway.

Canada and Switzerland each are 3-0 in men’s play. In the first of today’s two rounds, Japan beat Sweden 6-5, Switzerland defeated Britain 10-4 and Norway bested Germany 7-5. In the second round, Switzerland beat Japan 5-3, Canada routed Britain 10-3 and Sweden edged Germany 7-6.

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