Egypt won a world record fifth consecutive and seventh overall biennial World Junior Women’s Team Championship title in its third consecutive final against the United States, which matched its best-ever finish of second for the third consecutive tournament Tuesday at Squash Time in Eindhoven, Holland.
Team USA’s Sabrina Sobhy and Kayley Leonard acquitted themselves well in the final as both players pushed two of the world’s top twenty-five professionals into four close games.
The No. 1’s led off the final with Sobhy pitted against 2014 world junior individual champion and PSA world No. 19 Habiba Mohamed. Mohamed took the first game 11-7, but Sobhy pulled level winning the second 11-8. Mohamed responded immediately in the third, gaining a 6-0 lead, which Sobhy then cut down to level 6-6, at which point Mohamed pulled away to win 11-7. Mohamed once again started strong in the fourth with a 6-0 lead, and maintained her advantage to win 11-1 and give Egypt a 1-0 lead in thirty-four minutes.
The No. 3’s followed on court as Team USA’s Leonard aimed to keep the U.S. alive against world No. 21 Salma Hany Ibrahim. As in the first match, Egypt claimed the first game 11-7, but Leonard clawed back to win a close second game 13-11. Leonard continued to stay within reach of Ibrahim in the third, but the Egyptian edged to a 2-1 advantage 11-8. Leonard appeared to be on the brink of forcing a fifth game while 9-7 up in the fourth, but Ibrahim pulled together four consecutive points to clinch the match and world team title 11-9.
“We thought we played pretty well, ” Sobhy and Leonard told www.wsfworldjuniors.com after the final. “We think we got them a little rattled when the games were so close. We put it all out on there and we’re proud of the way we played, it’s a good end to our junior careers.”
Watch replays of the finals below via www.wsfworldjuniors.com/live.
Second place marks the third consecutive tournament Team USA’s junior women achieved the best-ever result of any Team USA at a world championship.
In 2011, Egypt defeated the U.S. on home soil in Boston to become the second country—along with England—to win three consecutive and five total World Junior Women’s Team titles. In 2013, Egypt continued their historic run—once again against the U.S. in the final in Poland, which involved 2015 U.S. team members Sobhy and Reeham Sedky—to become the first country to win four straight and six total titles.
The 2015 World Junior Championships mark the end of three illustrious junior careers for Sobhy, Leonard, and Sedky as all three prepare to attend Ivy League schools this fall. Sobhy and Leonard will once again be teammates at Harvard, while Sedky will attend the University of Pennsylvania. Casey Wong will still be eligible for the World Junior Women’s Individual Championship in 2016.
The 2015 World Junior Championships will include the annual Junior Men’s and Women’s Individual Championships, and Junior Men’s Team Championship.