Team USA completed a sixth place finish at the biennial Women’s World Junior Team Championship following five days of team play, August 5-9, at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The U.S. girls entered the team competition seeded fifth, and entered Pool D alongside four seeds England, twelve seeds Korea, fifteen seeds South Africa and seventeen seeds Sweden. The U.S. opened up the first two days with three, 3-0 victories over Sweden, Korea and South Africa to set up a decisive match up against four seeds England to determine top of the pool. Marina Stefanoni gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a narrow 3-2 victory over Elise Lazarus in the No. 1 position. England then leveled the score in another five-gamer as Alice Green edged Olivia Robinson 17-15 in the fifth. Evie Coxon then sealed the win for England with a 3-0 win over Elisabeth Ross to ensure a top-four seeding in the play-off draw.
As a result of the loss against England, the U.S. drew three seeds Hong Kong in the 1-8 play-off that same evening. Hong Kong maintained their perfect record in the team competition against the U.S., led by Chan Sin Yuk upsetting Stefanoni in five games in the No. 1 position, and cemented with a 3-0 win by Kirsie Po Yui Wong over Robinson in the No. 2 position.
The U.S. rebounded the next day with a 3-0 sweep against eight seeds Switzerland with Stefanoni, Ross and Caroline Spahr contributing to the scoreline and setting up a 5/6 playoff final against six seeds India. Stefanoni earned a 1-0 lead for the U.S. coming back from 1-0 down against Sanya Vats to win in four games. India rebounded, however, with a 3-0 win in the No. 3 position over Spahr and a 3-1 win in the No. 2 position over Robinson to complete the upset and fifth place finish.
In the 1-4 playoff, Egypt maintained their incredible domination with an unprecedented seventh consecutive and ninth overall title. The top seeds defeated England 3-0 to set up a final against hosts and two seeds Malaysia, who held off Hong Kong 2-0 in the semifinals. The hosts made it a difficult final for the six-time reigning champions, who brought the Egyptians to four games in the No. 1 position and five games in the No. 3 position, but Hania El Hammamy and Farida Mohamed pulled through to clinch the title and expand Egypt’s historic reign.
Egypt made it a clean sweep of all World Juniors titles by winning both the individual titles before the team competition courtesy of top seeds Hania El Hammamy and Mostafa Asal. Asal, ranked world No. 29 professionally, celebrates the end of his junior career with his second straight title, while El Hamammy, world No. 15, made the most of her third consecutive final appearance by winning her first title. For Team USA, sixteen-year-old Stefanoni was the high-water mark individually for a third consecutive year, reaching her third straight quarterfinals.
2020 will see the WSF World Junior Championships move to Gold Coast Australia and feature the biennial Men’s World Junior Team Championship.
For more tournament coverage visit wsfworldjuniors.com.