South Korea and the U.S. were both playing for something important Monday night.
A win by the South Korean squad would guarantee them a spot in the women's curling semifinals, something very few people would have predicted before competition began. The U.S., on the other hand, was simply fighting to stay in contention. Sitting at 4-3 and tied for fourth in the standings, the U.S. virtually needed to win out in round robin play to keep their hopes alive.
In the end, it was South Korea clinching, while the U.S. is now hoping for help to move on after losing to the home team 9-6.
The U.S. led 3-2 through three ends, and looked to have some momentum. That was until the fifth, when Korea's EunJung Kim had a perfect final throw to get a takeout and roll, laying four in the four-foot and making it virtually impossible for the U.S. to get into the button. U.S. skip Nina Roth made a good effort, but her thow was much too soft and nowhere close to curling enough, turning a 3-2 lead suddenly into a 6-4 deficit.
The big end not only shifted momentum for Korea, but also got the home crowd on their feet.
Roth got a bit of redemption in the sixth, getting a takeout of one Korean stone which ricocheted into another to squeeze the U.S. stone onto the button to salvage a point.
Kim got a takeout in the eighth on her final throw, but the roll off of it went too far, allowing Roth to easily put one on the button just behind another of their stones for two to cut Korea's lead to 7-6 with two ends to play.
But Korea answered with two more in the ninth, and the U.S. was unable to find three stones in the house for the tie, forcing Roth and team to concede the final.
The U.S. falls to 4-4 overall, tied with China for fifth in the standings. They'll finish round robin play against Sweden (5-2) Wednesday morning at 6:05 a.m. EST.
Korea is now 6-1 overall and at the top of the standings. After the final handshakes were done, the Korean team turned and took a bow in front of their cheering home crowd. That crowd is now guaranteed at least one extra game from their team, and a possibility of a medal.
Great Britain 5-3