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Team USA’s men and women enjoyed a perfect day in Pan American Games squash team pool play Wednesday recording two, 3-0 victories each to top their respective pools. Both teams have drawn Colombia in Thursday’s knock out stages of the third and final Pan Am squash event in Toronto.
After an opening pool victory over Chile and doubles gold medal Tuesday, the U.S. women were back in pool play action Wednesday morning against Guatemala, producing another commanding victory with three, three-game victories. Guatemala also awaited the U.S. men shortly thereafter the women with the same result, a 3-0 U.S. victory.
The U.S. women were handed an easy final pool match as Mexico opted to concede a match in order to rest their top-ranked player, Samantha Teran, for Thursday’s knock out stages. Mexico’s No. 2 and 3 players, Diana Garcia and Karta Urrutia, shifted up to take on Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford, who professionally ended each match in three games and under twenty-five minutes to win the pool. The U.S. women are now guaranteed at least a team bronze medal with Colombia set as their semifinal opponents Thursday evening at 5:30pm ET.
The U.S. men similarly defeated Chile in their final group match with three, three-game victories to finish on top of their pool Wednesday night.
Men’s head coach Gilly Lane was pleased with the clinical performances as world No. 4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Colombia awaits the U.S. in the quarterfinals Thursday morning at 10am.
“The men were very professional today with the performances on court, ” Lane said. “Given the length of the event, it adds importance to getting on and off the court as quickly and clinically as possible so they can reserve energy for later matches. The team has been eagerly awaiting the knockout stage since last year’s event in Toluca and are desperate to get a medal.”
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Rich Wade, Team Manager and Director of National Teams and Certifications, reports on day five of match play from Toronto:
Off the back of an amazing night of doubles and celebrating Team USA’s Gold and Bronze medal, our Men’s and Women’s teams continued the group stages of the Team event. Historically the Team event has been considered the most prestigious medal to win and Team USA are approaching it to add to their current medal count.
Both teams began the day against Guatemala and after a hectic week thus far the aim was to get on and off in as professional manner as possible. The Women’s team of Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Blatchford and Natalie Grainger were clinical in their performance, all winning 3-0 and retaining plenty of energy for the evening matches.
The Men were similarly as clinical and made an impressive transition from the Doubles tactics to the Individual event. Chris Gordon, Todd Harrity and Chris Hanson are focused on ensuring that all members of Team USA receive a medal and that would mean needing a medal for Todd Harrity. With this in mind they took about beating the Guatemalan’s which they did 3-0 in a similar fashion to the Women’s team.
The evening session started and the energy grew in the venue as it has done all week. The Women started with the news that Mexico would be resting their #1 Samantha Teran for the semifinals as they’d already progressed through the group stage. This meant Natalie Grainger won by default at #3 and Sobhy and Blatchford would play out their matches. As we had hoped, and with great professionalism on the glass court, 3-0 to Team USA and winners of Group A.
The Men, up against Chile and all but assured of being group winners, went about business as the coaching team had hoped and have prepared themselves perfectly for tomorrow’s quarter finals. Hanson and Gordon look to be at home on the glass court after their Doubles Bronze, and Harrity looks even better after a day off. Without too much discomfort, and a little fine tuning, Team USA got another 3-0 win without dropping a game.
Thursday is the start of the knockout stages. Team USA Men will go up against Colombia at 10am in the quarter finals hoping a win will guarantee them a medal and the Women’s team have a 5.30pm semifinal match against Colombia also as they continue their quest to gain all three Gold medals on offer on the women’s side.