[jbutton size=”large” color=”blue” link=”https://www.ussquash.com/teamusa/2015-pan-ams/” newpage=”yes”]Pan American Games Page[/jbutton]
Less than twenty-four hours after winning her first Pan American Games gold medal, Amanda Sobhy returned to the ASB GlassCourt—this time expanded to international softball doubles regulation—with doubles partner and 2007 Pan Ams gold medalist Natalie Grainger defeat hosts Canada and claim a second squash gold medal for Team USA in Toronto.
Canada’s Samantha Cornett & Nikole Todd didn’t make it easy for the Americans, however. With a vocal home crowd in the gallery, Cornett & Todd kept up with Sobhy & Grainger in the first game, but fell short 11-9. The Canadians then responded in another tight second game 11-9 to level the game score at 1-1. Early on in the third, both sides traded points until at 6-5 up, the Americans began to pull away to close out the match and clinch a second Team USA squash gold medal 11-9.
The 2015 women’s doubles gold medal—just the second iteration of the Pan American Games to feature squash doubles—marks Sobhy’s second of the 2015 games adding to her women’s individual gold, while Grainger also collects her second career Pan Ams gold, adding to her 2007 women’s individual gold.
“We were trying to break their rhythm to create openings and in the end we did that just about, ” Grainger said afterwards.
“We are so thrilled to win tonight, ” Sobhy said. “Especially against a team that had the entire crowd behind them. Now we can turn our attentions to the Team event and we would love to claim a clean sweep of Gold medals for squash in the U.S.”
Team USA squash has now won gold in women’s doubles, gold and silver in women’s individual, and bronze in men’s doubles.
“This group of players is an incredibly talented one and have made us very proud and it’s now about making sure we prepare appropriately for the Team event and don’t let up, ” said Paul Assaiante, The Ganek Family Head National Coach and Women’s Team Coach at the Pan Ams.
The U.S. men’s and women’s teams both play Guatemala Wednesday morning in the pool stages of the team championships.
Follow updates @TeamUSASquash on Twitter and the Team USA Pan American Games page.
For all results and the full schedule, visit the official 2015 Pan American Games Squash page.
Rich Wade, Team Manager and Director of National Teams and Certifications, reports on day four of match play from Toronto:
What a day! What an unbelievable match. Team USA add another Gold medal to their name with Amanda Sobhy and Natalie Grainger beating the impressive Canadian pair of Sam Cornett and Nikki Todd.
Squash being the individual sport that it is means that we infrequently get to witness what took place tonight. The buzz for a team event is unlike any other squash match, the crowd being right on top of the court and the electricity building in the venue. Team USA, likely the favored side but only slightly, set out with intent as the teams played doubles on the glass court for the first time.
The first game was nip and tuck, neither team wanting to give an inch, but some great retrieving from Sobhy and silky soft hands from Grainger meant Team USA grabbed the first game 11-9. The one negative for Team USA however was that the crowd was firmly engaged, amped up and ready for the battle.
Just when Team USA needed to burst the Canadian bubble, Cornett and Todd took the game to Grainger and Sobhy and rode the wave of energy from the crowd. Point for point then Canada get a lead and it’s 10-6 out of nowhere. The wise old head of Grainger wasn’t going to let it slip so easily and back they came. 10-all and sudden death, the anticipation building and the match on a knife edge. After a long rally, a well-placed shot up the middle of the court meant we were going to a deciding game.
‘All on the last’ Coach Assaiante exclaimed as the Canadians served it up. With Team USA trying to remain calm and play with some clarity, Canada was bringing the energy and trying to find a rhythm. Point for point up until 6-all and finally the U.S. team rattled off , three quick points that would eventually prove decisive and would seal the match. With 4 match balls and serving for the Gold medal, Grainger hit a great kill through the middle of the court that would beat both Canadian players and get Sobhy her second Gold medal of the event.
Tomorrow sees Team USA play four group stage matches with both the Men and Women playing Guatemala in the morning, then the Men playing Chile in the evening and the Women playing #3 seeded Mexico.