Team USA celebrates a fifth place finish, (l-r): Marina Stefanoni, Grace Doyle, Laila Sedky, Elle Ruggiero. (image: WSF World Juniors)

Team USA ended the 2017 WSF World Junior Women’s Team Championship by fulfilling their team seeding with a fifth place finish Saturday, July 29, in Tauranga, New Zealand.

After exiting the knock out quarterfinals against three seeds England Thursday, July 27, the U.S. bounced back with two victories in the final two rounds of play, July 28-29.

On Friday, Team USA’s Laila Sedky and Marina Stefanoni led the U.S. to a win against hosts and eight seeds, New Zealand. Sedky defeated Camden Te Kani-Mcqueen 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 in twenty-nine minutes and Stefanoni defeated Kaitlyn Watts 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 in thirty-one minutes.

On the final day of play, the U.S. took on six seeds India in the decisive 5th/6th place play off. Stefanoni put the U.S. on the scoreboard with a three-game win over Indian No. 1 Akankshe Salunkhe. India then leveled the score at one-all after Sunaya Kuruvilla defeated Grace Doyle in four games. No. 3 Elle Ruggiero provided the pivotal result for the U.S., topping Aishwarya Bhattacharya in three games to seal the fifth place team finish.

While Doyle marks the end of her junior career, the young U.S. team’s future is bright with seventeen-year-olds Sedky and Ruggiero eligible for the 2018 world junior individuals, and fourteen-year-old Stefanoni eligible for 2018 and the 2019 junior women’s team competition.

In the ensuing final between top seeds Egypt and two seeds Malaysia, the Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy and Rowan El Araby both won in four games to capture Egypt’s sixth consecutive world junior women’s team title.

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