Top seeds Jones, Kleibrink lose on first day of Canadian Olympic curling trials

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EDMONTON - The underdogs were anything but on day one of the Canadian Olympic curling trials, as top seed Jennifer Jones and No. 2-ranked Shannon Kleibrink were both upset in their opening matches.
Jones, the two-time defending champion of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and a heavy favourite to represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics, fell behind eighth-seed Amber Holland's rink early and never recovered, losing 8-5.
"We just didn't play as well as we could," Jones told reporters after the loss.
"We all made some good shots but we all made some bad shots and we've got to eliminate the bad shots."
Eight women's teams began play in the round robin tournament, dubbed the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Curling Trials on Sunday. The first-place team at the end of the round robin will advance directly to the final match, while the second and third-place teams will meet in the semifinal.
The tournament champion will represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Jones, from Winnipeg, stressed that while the loss was disappointing it's just one match.
"It's a long round robin," she said. "You don't expect to go through undefeated. You're going to have a loss. You don't like it to be your first game but it's just one loss and we'll have to bounce back. That's always the key to success."
Holland's Kronau, Sask., rink jumped on Jones' squad early, stealing two points in the first four ends.
"It's just great to get out here and have a win underneath your belt off the start. This field is so tough that every win is so important," Holland said after her victory.
Holland, who qualified for Edmonton by winning a pre-trial event in Prince George, B.C., said the eight teams are all so skilled that any one can beat another, regardless of seed.
"Where you're seeded doesn't really matter. It's a round robin, you play everybody," she said.
"We didn't really worry about who we were playing. Our talk before we went out on the ice was 'Let's figure out this ice, let's feel comfortable.' That was the key for us."
Kleibrink, who is trying to lead her rink to its second consecutive Olympic appearance after picking up a bronze medal in 2006, lost to fellow Calgarian and No. 5-seed Crystal Webster 8-3.
"Our goal is always to work hard to get control of the game, however long it takes us, and we were fortunate to kind of get a little bit of control in the middle ends there," Webster said after her team picked up steals in the fifth and seventh ends.
Webster said her team, which also played its way into the Edmonton event by winning a Prince George qualifier, is confident heading into the week.
"We believe that we can do it here and we probably will fly under the radar a little bit," she said.
Jones qualified for the Olympic trials by winning the 2008 Tournament of Hearts, while Kleibrink qualified due to her three-year Canadian team point totals.
No. 4-ranked Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon was also a loser on Sunday, dropping an 8-7 decision to seventh-seed Kelly Scott's rink from Kelowna, B.C.
Scott, like Holland, said the seeding doesn't mean a thing when it comes to this tournament and this group of curlers.
"It's a very even field and it's hard to pick favourites out there in each game," she said.
Calgary's Cheryl Bernard was the lone favourite to win on opening day, narrowly defeating Krista McCarville's Thunder Bay, Ont., rink 11-7 with a dramatic double-takeout for five points in the final end.
"To have a shot to win at the end was great, so you've just got to make them," she said.
"There was a lot of nerves after it was thrown."

Geographic location: EDMONTON, Canada, Prince George Vancouver Winnipeg Kronau Sask. Saskatoon Kelowna Calgary Thunder Bay

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