The three and four positions on the United States Women’s National Team, which is slated to compete at the 2013 Pan American Federation Cup in Argentina this September, will be determined in a four person round robin playoff Wednesday July 31 – Friday August 2, at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT.
The four players in contention include Seattle-based World no. 55 Kristen Lange, a former University of Pennsylvania All American, and World no. 69 Sabrina Sobhy, who is coming off a strong performance at the 2013 World Junior Championships. Chelsea Piers squash professionals Olivia Blatchford, World no. 65, and Cecelia Cortes, World no. 100, round out the field.
The three and four positions will join US Champion and Women’s Head Coach Natalie Grainger and Women’s Squash World no. 30 Amanda Sobhy on the national team roster.
Grainger believes the four players are well-matched and highly competitive going into the playoff.
“I think they’re all going to be ready as they have all been training for tournaments, ” Grainger said.
Grainger thinks Sobhy is primed to perform following a quarterfinal Individual finish and leading Team USA to the final of the Girls’ Team World Junior Championship in Poland.
“Sabrina is going to be sharp after coming back from the World Juniors and I know she was working hard towards that to be prepared. She moves really well and I expect her to be sharp, ready and raring to go.”
Lange, 25, reached a career-high world ranking of 51 in February 2013, and is set as the four seed in the 2013 Hampton Squash Week WSA Tour 10 event with the Sobhy sisters and Blatchford also participating August 8-11.
“I haven’t seen Kristin in a long time, but she’s always a feisty player. She likes to hit the ball at a high pace and get off to it quickly.”
Grainger is well-acquainted with her fellow Chelsea Piers professionals and has seen their preparation first hand.
“Olivia’s been working really hard and has played a lot of tough matches in our pro league, which gives me a good gauge that she’s turned on and ready to fight hard so I would expect her to keep a high level. She likes to move the ball around the court really nicely and stays at a higher pace.”
“Cece has been training hard as well, she’s just started on the tour about a year ago so she’s probably the most inexperienced of the four players, but is really chomping at the bit for the opportunity to compete for Team USA. If she plays smart, I think she can gain some traction.”
“To be able to showcase some of the best women players in the United States is a real treat. It’s going to be fantastic to watch them compete and try really hard and push for the ultimate, which is to play for your country. I think they all want it really badly.”
US Women’s National Team 3/4 playoff results:
Wednesday, July 31:
7:00 pm- Kristen Lange def. Cecelia Cortes 7-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5
7:30 pm- Sabrina Sobhy def. Olivia Blatchford 11-7, 11-5, 13-11
Thursday, August 1:
5:00 pm- Sabrina Sobhy def. Kristen Lange 11-7, 12-10, 11-3
5:30 pm- Olivia Blatchford def. Cecelia Cortes 11-4, 11-5, 11-7
Friday, August 2:
10:30 am- Olivia Blatchford def. Kristen Lange 11-3, 11-4, 11-8
11:00 am- Sabrina Sobhy def. Cecelia Cortes 11-3, 11-4, 11-8