2014 Can-Am Cup Team USA (image: Susan Sambrook)
2014 Can-Am Cup Team USA (image: Susan Sambrook)

U.S. Captain Mike McGorry Reports:

The United States Men’s and Women’s Doubles squash teams, led by captains Mike McGorry, Lenny Bernheimer, Molly Pierce and Lee Belknap, were victorious in bringing back the Can-Am Cup from Canada the weekend of October 23-26 at the Atwater Club in Montreal, Quebec.

This biennial event which known as the “Ryder Cup of Squash” was held in Boston in 2008, Toronto in 2010 and Buffalo in 2012 brings together the U.S. and Canadian National Champions and top-ranked doubles players in all the open and age groups, both men and women, to compete on behalf of their country. Each team plays two matches against their Canadian counterpart with the No. 1 v No. 2 matches worth 1 point and the 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 matches worth 1 ½ points. The men compete for the Bernheimer-Bell Trophy and the Women for the Gillen-Pierce Trophy. The overall winning team captures the Can-Am Trophy. Having been swept by Canada on the last day in 2012, the American Team was out for revenge.

U.S. Captain Mike McGorey a.k.a. Captain America (R) and Canadian Captain Bart Sambrook as a Courier du Bois.
U.S. Captain Mike McGorey a.k.a. Captain America (R) and Canadian Captain Bart Sambrook as a Courier du Bois. (image: Susan Sambrook)

Play started out on Thursday night with the No. 1 teams from each country playing the No. 2 team. The Americans jumped out to a 4-2 lead thanks to the American’s No. 2 65+ team, John Brazilian and Jay Umans, defeating Canada’s No. 1 team John Boynton and Tom Nederpel 3-2, after being down 2-0, 10-13 in the third game.

Friday’s matches went similarly with the US No. 2 team of Dominic Hughes and Chris Spahr beating Canada’s No. 1 50+ team of Canadian Captain Bart Sambrook and Taylor Fawcett 3-0. Other American No. 2’s that beat Canada’s No. 1’s were Margaret Rux and Susan Greene in the Women’s 50+, and Don Mills and Graham Sharman in the men’s 75+. The No. 1 US 45+ women’s team of Philadelphians Dawn Gray and Amy Milanek staved off an upset by also coming from down 2-0, 8-2 in the third, to defeat Torontonians Tammy Sangster and Robbin Morrison. After Friday’s matches the U.S. was up 18 ½ points to 11 ½.

Saturday brought more great play from both countries top doubles players. US 60+ No. 1’s Andy Nehrbas and Stan Dorney beat Steve Hisey and Sean McDonough to open the day’s matches. Graham Bassett and Steve Scharff came back from being down 10-5 in the fifth to win 10 straight points against Will Mariani and Ian Power to with their open match. By the end of the day the Americans held what on first blush looked like an insurmountable lead, needing to just win one men’s match Sunday to win the Bernheimer/Bell Trophy and the women needing to do likewise to win the Gillen/Pierce Trophy. A look at Sunday’s schedule, however, clearly showed that the U.S. teams were the underdogs in all but one or two matches. A Canadian sweep was not out of the question. Saturday night brought taunts of “remember what happened in Buffalo” from the Canadian team. U.S. “Captain America” Mike McGorry (who on Friday night introduced his team in his traditional Captain America outfit) was not going to sleep well given the strength of Canada’s Sunday lineup and knowing that Canada had come from a similar deficit in Buffalo in 2012 to pull out an improbable win on the event’s last match.

The American’s concerns, however, quickly dissipated when US 50+ No. 1 Hughes/Spahr beat Alan Grant and Andrew Slater 3-1 and when American women’s 50+ No. 2 Rux/Greene defeated Vancouver’s Francis Frost and Ruth Castellino 3-2 after also being down 12-6 in the fifth. The final score was US 42 ½ and Canada 28 with the Men’s score at 24 ½-20 ½ and the women’s at 17 ½-8.

Montreal hosted a phenomenal event. Chairwoman Susan Bell and her staff took care of all of the fine details to make this event a tremendous success. Congratulations to all who participated. Wilmington, DE, is schedule to next host this event on the last weekend of October, 2016, with Toronto wanting to host in 2018, Atlanta in 2020 and Vancouver in 2022. For those who have played in this event, you know how prestigious the event has become and how much fun it is to represent your country in International competition. For those of you who have not made the team, you have two years to get your ranking points up there to be selected.

The full draws and results of the 2014 Can-Am Cup can be found at www.canamsquash.com.

Visit the US Squash Smugmug page for a tournament gallery by Susan Sambrook.

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