Various teams play at the same time, causing a wide range of noisy crowd reactions, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in the Ice Cube Curling Center this week. (Ints Kalnins / Reuters)

The intensity was often interrupted by the cacophony of air horns and Russian cheers in Sochi’s Ice Cube Curling Center on Thursday, but the U.S. women’s curling team pulled it together to earn their first win, scoring 8-6 over the Japanese rink. Now, not only are the U.S. women not tied for worst anymore — you’re on your own, Denmark — but the Americans solidified their chance to make the semifinals. That is, if they can turn this single win into a streak. And with their next bout set for Friday against the sole biggest loser now, Denmark, the team just might be able to make it a two-fer.

After that, well, let’s not talk too much about the future right now. Why? Because it’s scary. The U.S. team will go up against the two best teams, Sweden on Saturday and Canada on Sunday. Sweden has lost just one game out of the five they’ve played and Canada has yet to lose at all.

But as they say in recovery programs — and the U.S. women are still recovering from their devastating Tuesday mercy-rule loss to Great Britain — perhaps it’s better to take it one day at a time.

The U.S. men’s curling team, however, might want to look further ahead. They didn’t fair as well as their female counterparts Thursday, even after coming off a big win against Denmark on Wednesday. Britain won, 5-3, over the U.S. men, dropping their round-robin tally to one win and three losses.

That said, the guys are still very much in the mix. While they don’t have a team psychologist on hand like Norway’s team does, at least they know one of the things they need to do going into Friday’s double header with Germany and Russia, two teams that are certainly beatable: “We just need to stay confident,” team member Jared Zezel told USA Curling.

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