It wasn’t the start the U.S. women’s curling team was hoping for.
In the first game of the tournament, Japan stole two points in the first and second ends and three more in the third, putting the Americans in a hole they wouldn’t climb out of in a 9-6 loss.
The U.S. was down 8-1 at the midway point in the game, though they allowed just one point by Japan in the final four ends.
Skip Nina Roth made a game of it in the sixth after getting a double takeout to score three points and cut Japan’s lead in half.
After stealing another point in the sixth, Roth’s team had a chance for more in the seventh on what has probably been the closest measurement of any curling game in PyeongChang thus far. Both teams had one stone almost exactly the same distance from the button, and it took three turns of the measuring stick to determine Japan was closer by mere millimeters. The Japanese were awarded one point to go up four rather than the U.S. further cutting into the lead.
Japan scored the final point in the night, and the five point hole was too much to consider playing the final end.
Despite the loss, the American team could be seen smiling and saying on the ice they were satisfied with the way they played the second half of the game. Roth’s team, which has been playing together for two years and finished fifth at the most recent World Championships, will look to bounce back on Wednesday night against Great Britain.