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Monday, February 18, 2002
Americans win last four games to reach semis

Associated Press

OGDEN, Utah -- The American women's curling team clinched an Olympics semifinals spot with an 11-2 victory over Norway on Monday.

Stacey Liapis
Stacey Liapis and the U.S. women routed Norway to reach the curling final four.

The U.S. team won its last four games to finish the round-robin with a 6-3 record.

"This was our first expectation, reaching the final four. Now we just have two games to win," U.S. skip Kari Erickson said.

The Americans take on Switzerland in the semifinal Wednesday. The Swiss curlers came in second after two victories Monday to finish at 7-2.

Switzerland handed Canada (8-1) its first defeat of the tournament with a 7-6 decision, then topped Germany 10-4 in an evening match.

Germany ended at 5-4 along with Britain and Sweden, which took a 9-6 victory over Russia (1-8) in another evening match.

There will be a playoff Tuesday to determine the opponent for Canada in the semifinals. Britain faces Sweden in the playoff and the winner goes against Germany, which received a bye.

In another night match, Japan (2-7) edged Denmark (2-7) 6-5.

In the Americans' match, they led 6-1 after four ends, or innings.

Erickson said the big lead was nice after three earlier games came down to the final shot.

"We were a little more loose a little more relaxed," Erickson said.

In the men's competition, Britain beat the United States 7-6 in a match of teams already eliminated from the medal round. Canada defeated Denmark 8-3 to clinch the top spot in the round-robin, while Norway handed Sweden its first loss, 9-8. Switzerland beat Germany 10-4.