Team USA edit

Team USA (Left to Right): Sabrina Sobhy, Todd Harrity, Amanda Sobhy Gilly Lane, Natalie Grainger, Graham Bassett, Faraz Khan, Olivia Blatchford

To read more about the United States National Team participating in the 2013 Pan-American Squash Championships, click here.

View Team results and draws here.

View Women’s results and draw here.

View Men’s results and draw here.

Follow the action with updates and images from the Team USA Pan American Championships blog:

Women’s final, September 8:

The women got the medal that they were searching for as they managed to defeat Mexico 2-0 in the Women’s Final. Olivia Blatchford started things off for the US against Diana Garcia at the number 3 position. Olivia started off slowly and was down 10-7 before a strong comeback led her to take the first game. From there on it was all red white and blue as Olivia showed her dominance in the middle of the court controlling her opponent for the next two games and giving team USA a 1-0 advantage.

It was then up to the US No. 1 Amanda Sobhy to close the deal. And close she did.  The Harvard student has been nothing but spectacular this week and put on a display against former top ten player Samantha Teran. Amanda was the aggressor early as she attacked at every possible opportunity causing uneasiness for her opponent.  Teran fought back momentarily in the second game but it wasn’t enough as Sobhy was too strong and clinched the medal for team USA with a 3-0 win!

Team knockout rounds, September 7:

The knockout pool began well for both the Men and the Women in the morning as the women had a direct bye into the semi final while the Men faced Ecuador on the side courts. The Men were able to rest number 1 Gilly Lane in this tie and pushed everyone up a spot. There were no nerves with this as Todd Harrity won 3-0 in the number 1 position and Graham Bassett won 3-1 to send Team USA through to the semis against Argentina. The Women were the first semifinal on the glass court as they faced a young and hungry Canadian squad. Amanda Sobhy led the way again as there was no doubt who was more aggressive and assertive in her match against Sam Cornett. Sobhy used her power and accuracy to gain the advantage quickly in each game and won convincingly 3-0 putting American up 1-0 over there neighbors to the north. Olivia Blatchford was next on. Olivia started slowly and lost the first game but rebounded in fine form, to beat the up and coming Hollie Naughton 3-1 to clinch team USA’s spot in the final.

The men went on next knowing that they had a tough task at hand playing the home country team in a hostile environment. The seats were packed at the match begun with football chanting becoming the norm in the small squash arena. Gilly Lane, back in the lineup, won a tough first game against Gonzalo Miranda and was able to use that momentum to beat him the next two games easily to take the first match 3-0. Graham Bassett was next up as he had a tough task of playing the in form Leandro Romiglio. Graham played one of the best matches of his life as he stole the first game from Romiglio and pushed him in the second and third before falling 3-1. The decider came down to recently turned pro Todd Harrity against Robertino Pezzotta, a player who Lane had beat in the individuals earlier in the week. Pezzotta started out strong winning the first game using his experience in a big situation to rattle the younger Harrity. Harrity stormed back as he used his soft hands to bring his opponent forward on the back hand side forcing errors from the Argentinian to win game 2. Game 3 was neck and neck as the quality of squash rose to a level not seen all week. The game got to 10-9 when it appeared that Pezzotta had not only hit the floor with the ball but the tin as well. Of the three refs only one saw the ball down thus giving the game to Argentina. Brutal! Pezzotta rode this wave through the next game and booked Argentina’s trip to the final.

The women play at 2:00pm on Sunday against Mexico, while the Men will take the bronze medal for their efforts.

Final day of Team pool play, September 6:

national team logoIt was a great day for the US Team as both the men and women competed against Colombia on the final day of team pool play. The women, who have looked strong this entire event, again showed their class as Amanda Sobhy led the way winning 11-2, 11-3, 11-1 over her counterpart. Sabrina Sobhy put in a great performance against Gabi Porres, who plays college squash for George Washington, winning 3-0 and Olivia Blatchford closed out the match for Team USA as she won comfortably 3-0 at the 3rd position. Team USA women now get a bye in the quarters and await word on who they play in the semifinals of the knockout stage.

The men went into the day’s task as the leaders in group D but needed to win the tie in order to finish first in the pool. Team USA got a lucky break when Juan Vargas, a top player on the Trinity men’s squash team, rolled his ankle in the opening point and could not continue giving the tie to Todd Harrity. It was an unfortunate way to win a match, and we wish a speedy recovery to Vargas. Gilly Lane was next up against his kryptonite of the tournament Miguel Rodriguez. Rodriguez got the better of him for the 3rd time as his speed was just too much for the American knotting the score at 1-1 in matches. Graham Bassett, playing in his first match since the individuals, made the difference in the third leg winning a tough 3-0 over Erik Herrera, who played for Colombia at the world team event in France. It was a great win for Bassett and an even bigger win for Team USA as they won the “group of death” as many in the tournament have called it.  The men’s team will compete in the quarterfinals tomorrow at 9am local time with the semifinals later in the day.

Go Team USA!

First day of Team pool play, September 5:

Team USA went 3-0 on the first day of pool play as the women beat Guatemala in a comfortable 3-0 with Amanda, Sabrina, and Olivia all winning with ease. They were too strong for the inexperienced Guatemalan team. They now face Colombia in the last match of pool play tomorrow to book their spot in the semifinals.

The men had a much more difficult task as they have been place in the group of death with Brazil, Canada, and Colombia. The first match against Brazil was supposed to be the easiest of the three pool matches but Brazil were not going down without a fight. Gilly Lane won with ease at the first position, in what was a rematch of his round of 32 match earlier in the week against Manuel Perreira. Todd Harrity was up next in what was his first match of the competition. Todd started slow and went down 2-0, but found his length and legs and fought back to win 3-2 to win the tie for the US. Faraz Khan who was making his senior international debut won 3-1 to give the US a 3-0 over Brazil.
In the afternoon the men played again, this time against their neighbors from the north. Gilly won again at the number one position as it looked like his opponent had felt the effects from his earlier match against Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia. 1-0 to the US.
It was now Todd’s turn as he was facing college teammate David Latourneau, a classy player who had beaten the US in their match at the world teams in France. The match was neck and neck the entire way as both players controlled each other at different times during the match. Harrity, however, managed to keep his perfect record against his former teammate and came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 to give the US the win! Faraz Khan then had the tough task of playing Graeme Schnell, a seasoned PSA professional. The Canadian showed his class as his had the younger American all over the court winning 3-0.

Both the men’s and women’s team sit atop of the table and face Colombia to decide their fate in the knockout stage.

Final day of Individual play, Women’s and Mixed doubles, September 4:

Team USA concluded the individuals and doubles portion of the tournament yesterday with Amanda Sobhy leading the way as the women’s individuals champion. Amanda took on her teammate and coach Natalie Grainger in the final in a rematch of this years US Nationals final, which Grainger won in a tough 5 games. It was evident that Sobhy was out for revenge. After neck and neck starts to each game Sobhy extended her lead at the middle part of each game using her speed and power to wear down her counterpart, winning 3-0.

Women’s individuals
Gold – Amanda Sobhy Pan Ams gold 2
Silver – Natalie Grainger
Bronze – Olivia Blatchford, Sam Cornett
Grainger would get her gold medal though on the same day as she and Sabrina Sobhy teamed up to win the gold medal against team Mexico. Team USA established themselves early showing a rhythm that looked like they had been playing together for years. Grainger used her experience on the left wall and Sabrina showed her excellent athletic ability in the final.
In the mixed Doubles final Amanda teamed up with Gilly Lane against the Colombian duo of Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Catalina Palaez. The pace was fast and furious as both teams got to every ball and used every angle possible to cause confusion for their opponents. It wasn’t meant to be as the Colombian duo won critical points at 10-10 in the first and second to take the gold 2-0, 11-10, 11-10.
The medal count so far for the US is:
Gold: women’s individuals, women’s doubles
Silver: women’s individuals, mixed doubles
Bronze: women’s and men’s individuals

Today marks the beginning of the team play as  the men face Brazil in the “group of death” and the women face Guatemala.

Day 3 of Individual play, September 3:

IMG_7385Team USA put in another strong showing on day 3 of the competition as Amanda Sobhy and Natalie Grainger will contest the Women’s Individual final while the doubles teams of Grainger and Sabrina Sobhy and the mixed doubles team of Amanda Sobhy and Gilly Lane will play in the semi finals tomorrow.

Amanda put up a strong performance in the semi finals against fellow Team USA player Olivia Blatchford. Amanda’s pace was just too much as she consistently put pressure on Olivia, showcasing her world class skills on the exhibition court here in Argentina. Amanda will now play her third team member in a row as Natalie Grainger withstood a 2 game comeback from Samantha Cornett of Canada. Grainger was on fire in the first 2 games looking like it was going to be a quick 3-0 win. Cornett however showed resolve and fought back to win the next two games forcing a decider. Grainger’s experience came through in the fifth, as she raced out to a 9-0 lead and closing the game 11-1.

Team USA is now guaranteed to win Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the Women’s Individuals.

IMG_7438Gilly Lane had the tough task of facing the number 16 in the world, Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia. Miguel who is known as one of the fastest players on the tour, showed his speed again tonight as his ability to pick up what seemed to be one winner after the next was simply incredible. Gilly put in his best playing effort of the week as the first two games could have gone either way at 14-12 and 11-9. It wasn’t meant to be though as the Colombian showed why he is a top 20 player in the world and closed out Gilly in a decisive 11-7 final third game to book his spot in the final. Lane will wind up with a Bronze medal for his efforts in the individuals, making it 4 medals so far for team USA.

The US will go for two more medals in the Women’s and Mixed doubles tomorrow.

Go Team USA!

Day 2 of Individual play, September 2:

Team USA day 2Team USA had another strong showing on day 2 of the individuals as Natalie Grainger, Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Blatchford and Gilly Lane all advanced to the semifinals of the Individual Event. 

The morning matches saw both Sobhy’s and Olivia win 3-0,  and Natalie beat #27 in the world and second seeded Mexican Samantha Teran. Gilly had a hard fought 3-1 win over British under 17 champion Diego Elias of Peru.

After some much needed treatment from our physio Jeremy Mayer, all five players were back on court for the quarterfinals. It was an all Sobhy affair as Amanda and Sabrina squared off in what was one of the most entertaining matches of the night session. The elder prevailed however putting Amanda up against Olivia in the semifinal after her 3-0 win over Diana Garcia of Mexico. Natalie became the third US women in the final after controlling her Brazilian counterpart Thaisia Serrafini 3-0. Gilly had one of the tougher draws in the tournament as he was unseeded and playing top quality players all the way through the tournament. He managed after an hour and thirty minutes to beat a tough Argentinian Robertino Pozzotto in his home country in front of a pro Argentina crowd. Gilly faces another tough challenge as he plays Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia who has recently moved to the top 16 in the world.

The Men’s and Women’s semifinals,  as well as the doubles competitions kicks off on Tuesday. Standby for more updates from Buenos Aires.

Go team USA!

Day 1 of Individual play, September 1:

Team USA had a very positive first day at the Pan American Championships in Argentina. The championships are being held at the Tortugas Country Club just outside of Buenos Aires. Although it is winter here, the courts are playing like it is summer time on the east coast as the ball is flying around causing long attritional rallies from all the players which requires deep concentration and will power.Gilly and Natalie

The women led by player coach Natalie Grainger, went 4-0 in individual play as Natalie, Amanda Sobhy, Sabrina Sobhy, and Olivia Blatchford all won with ease 3-0. They will play tomorrow morning in the round of 16 with the biggest match up of the day pitting Natalie Grainger against number two seed Samantha Teran of Mexico. Amanda Sobhy is seeded number one in the event with Sabrina and Olivia 5/8 seeds.

For the Men only Graham Bassett and Gilly Lane are competing in the individuals in the team of four which also includes Todd Harrity and Faraz Khan. Graham won his opening match in a tough 5 games after an injury scare in the second game. Just 2 hours later he was back on court playing against the 9/16 seed from Guatemala, a hungry junior player who showed maturity beyond his years giving up a two love lead to his elder counterpart before closing out the match in the fifth to end Bassett’s run in the individuals.

Gilly Lane had one of the tougher draws to start and began his campaign against Esteban Casarino, the Paraguain number 1. Lane managed to get by 3-0 and much like Bassett was on court again 2 hr’s later against Manuel Perreira of brazil, the tournaments 5/8 seed. Lane managed to battle through in a tough hour plus encounter winning 3-1 and advancing to the round of 16 against young up and comer Diego Elias of Peru.

The team is spending a ton of time together as we are in close quarters in the hotel and with the club only having 4 courts, there is plenty of time to bond.

Thanks again to our physio Jeremy Mayer for being here as this tournament tests every players physical abilities over the week long tournament. Jeremy is one of the best in the business and it is amazing to have him apart of US Squash!

Go Team USA!