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U.S. men's curling team falls to Norway in opening match

Jared Zezel (USA), left, and Jeff Isaacson (USA), right, in the men's curling round robin session 2 during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Ice Cube Curling Center. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The U.S. men's curling team suffered a setback in its 2014 Winter Olympics opener on Monday, falling to Norway 7-4 in Sochi, Russia.

The U.S. team includes skip John Shuster of Duluth, third Jeff Isaacson of Gilbert, second Jared Zezel, a BSU student from Hibbing, and lead John Landsteiner of Duluth. Monday's match, the first of nine round-robin matches scheduled for the U.S., was broadcast live online and will be televised on tape delay beginning at 4 p.m. on CNBC.

The Americans struggled with the rocks Monday and fell behind early, trailing 2-0 after the first end and 5-1 after the third end.

"Our plan going in was to win the hammer in the first end, score first, and not fall behind. None of that happened, obviously. It's frustrating. We didn't want to fall behind. We wanted to keep it close, because these guys hit so well," Isaacson, a middle-school science teacher in the Eveleth-Gilbert school district, said in a report from USA Curling.

"For the most part we were very comfortable out there. There was a little bit of indecision on the ice and rock placement. That has to get better. We'll have to take good notes on the rocks and learn from it. There's only eight rocks out there (at a time), and we have to use them."

Norway outshot the Americans, 83 to 75 percent.

"The pre-event practices almost didn't help us at all, because the difference in the rocks was so much," Shuster, who also competed for the U.S. at the 2006 and 2010 Games, said in the USA Curling report. "But I know now how I'll throw those rocks again, and we play Canada on this same sheet with these same rocks, so at least I'll be ready for that."

The Americans' round-robin competition will continue Tuesday with a match against China at 2 p.m. Sochi time, 4 a.m. Bemidji time.

In other competition Monday, the U.S. women's team fell to Switzerland 7-4. The squad includes skip Erika Brown (Madison) and teammates Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis) and Ann Swisshelm (Chicago).

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