Three members of Team USA—eight total competitors were sent as the first delegation in ten years—made the quarterfinals of the Pan American Junior Championships individual event this week.
Marina Stefanoni—who bested fellow American Kate Feeley 3-0 in the second round—fell in close, straight games to Mexico’s No. 3 seed Sarahi Lopez. “With her unflappable court presence, Stefanoni won the crowd over and had multiple game balls in the third, but lost in great games, ” Head National Coach Paul Assaiante said.
In the morning session, Samuel Epley reached the quarterfinals after defeating Guatemala’s 9/16 seed Jose Ricardo Toscano Merida 11-4, 11-1, 11-6. Epley followed this performance with an incredibly close loss to Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas.
“Epley had four game balls to extend into a fifth, but Cardenas hit slotted winners on every one. Epley lost in four, but his approach, style and positive energy was a thing to behold, ” Coach Assaiante shared.
Morgan Steelman was the third Team USA member to reach the quarterfinals after cruising to victory over Guatemala’s Lucena Effemberger 11-5, 11-4, 11-5. Steelman met Mexico’s No. 2 seed Diana Gasca in the quarterfinals and fell in three games.
After a short lesson about how to properly play softball doubles, duo Clark Doyle & Spencer Lovejoy secured a close win over Ecuador’s David Coelle (5/8 seed) and Sebastian Mejia, 11-7, 12-10. Lovejoy & Doyle will face Argentina’s Juan Segeundo Barreyro & Miguel Pujol later today at 12:20pm local time.
Doubles play begins this morning for the women of Team USA with partners Samantha Chai & Kate Feeley dominating their Guatemalan competition 3/4 seed Corinne Hernandez & Zarah Maria Pinzon Sciarillo 11-4, 11-2. At 3:40pm local time, Chai & Doyle will partner for the mixed doubles, facing Ecuador’s Alvaro Buenano & Maria Paula Moya Lopez.
The Pan American Junior Championships includes three competitions: individual, doubles and team. The individual competition will conclude tomorrow September 3, overlapping with the doubles September 1-3, and culminating in the team competition September 4-6.
This week’s event is an embodiment of US Squash’s goal to support regional and global squash initiatives, helping to ensure the long-term health of the sport. This tournament joins one of the many opportunities available to American juniors, including the first Team USA British Junior Open and the 2016 Battle of the Border, which for the first time will feature U.S. team members playing against juniors from all over Canada.
Follow @TeamUSASquash on Twitter for updates from Argentina.
For more information, visit the official 2015 Pan American Junior Championships site