Team USA is aiming for a fifth place finish in the 2017 WSF World Junior Women’s Team Championship after exiting the quarterfinals against England Thursday, July 27, in Tauranga, New Zealand.
After finishing second in Group D as the tournament’s five seeds, the U.S. girls fell just short in the first knock out rounds against England, the tournament’s three seeds.
England earned a 1-0 lead in the opening match between England’s Elise Lazarus and Team USA’s Grace Doyle, which Lazarus claimed 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 in twenty-three minutes.
U.S. No. 1 Marina Stefanoni gave the U.S. new hope in the second match, pulling out a crucial five-game win 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-3 in forty-eight minutes to level the team score at 1-1.
In the deciding match, England’s Jasmine Hutton defeated Elle Ruggiero 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 in twenty minutes to seal England’s passage to the semifinals.
“The pressure was on us as third seeds and we knew the USA would be strong,” said England coach Lee Drew. “Marina was in great form in the individual tournament so we knew it would be a tough match. The Americans are very tough competitors so it was going to be a challenge but that’s why we are here. We can go into the next match against Malaysia or New Zealand with nothing to lose.”
Team USA now sets its sights on fulfilling its seeding in the 5-8 playoff with two team matches remaining, July 28-29. The first match is up against hosts and eight seeds New Zealand, Friday, July 28, at 2:30pm local time, or Thursday, July 27, 10:30pm ET.