The Yomiuri Shimbun SOCHI—It was hardly the Olympic debut that Kaho Onodera had hoped for.
Onodera, playing for the first time after missing three matches due to the flu, made some key mistakes as Japan was dealt a costly 8-6 loss Thursday night by a previously winless United States in the women’s curling competition at the Sochi Olympics.
The match turned in the fourth end, when Japan had the advantageous last stone but allowed the United States to steal two points to take a 4-2 lead.
From there, Japan reduced the gap to one point, but failed to gain the necessary steal to overtake the Americans, who improved to 1-4. Japan fell to 2-2.
Onodera got off to an inauspicious start when she sent her first stone completely through the house. In the match, her accuracy rate was a team-low 66 percent.
“I’m happy to play in front of such a big crowd, but I wanted to play better,” said a tearful Onodera.
“She wasn’t able to play [in the first three matches], so I’m sure she is the most disappointed,” Japan skip Ayumi Ogasawara said. “We wanted to win it for her. We’ll have to just get past it and keep trying.”
The team will need to be at its best as it faces all of the top teams in its remaining five matches.