Sunday, August 28, 2016

Day 7: Semi Finals / Finals

I'll start this post by saying that Team Canada Won 2 Bronze medals in the Team Competition.  It was a long week of competition and many surprising changes at the event.  An awesome week was had by all the players.  New friends made and connection that will last a life time.

This morning both Canadian Teams were up against Team Mexico in the semi-final action.  

The Boys: Canada vs Mexico

The order of play today was 1-3-2 (Julien, Brett, Noel)

Julien was the first to step on court with the Mexican #1 Leonel Cardenas.  Leonel is a hard hitting beast of a Mexican squash player.  If there was a weak link in their team we needed to exploit it right here.  Sadly we were not able to open up with the first game.  Julien did answer back with the second game and we were back in the running.  Leonel did impress me with his court professionalism.  He called the fewest lets I have seen from any of the players this weekend.  Rather than letting the ref make the call he  play the ball and surprised Julien, taking many points in this fashion.  Kudos to Leonel and we were down 1-0 to Mexico.

Next on court was our Number 3's, Brett Schille vs Allan Nunez.  Nunez won the first two games and ran Brett around the court working the diagonal with extreme efficiency.  In the third Brett answered back using straighter shots giving the prancing Nunez less angles to work with.  But the damage was done and Canada lost the second match to Mexico and the encounter 2-0.  

Canadian Boys will bring home the Bronze!

The Girls Canada vs Mexico

Of all the encounters this morning this one went the distance! All 3 matches were played and the result of the last match decided who moved to the final.  

Grace Thomas lead out the Canadian Team.  This match was a 5 game match but should be considered a 6 game match with a score of 17-15 in the forth.  Grace had match balls in the 4 but could not find the finishing punch to take the 4th game.  In the end Grace lost the match in the 5th and Mexico had the 1-0 lead over Canada.  

Rhea Dhar came to court for the second match of the encounter.   It took her 2 games to find her rhythm on court but after losing the first 2 she clawed back to win the match 3-2 by stroke on match ball.  The teams were now tied 1-1 

Hanna Blatt would be on court next with the number 2 Mexican.  All tied up and the winner of this match would move to the finals this afternoon with the US team.  Mexico would not open the door even a crack.  They efficiently did their job and as a result beat Canada 2-1 in the encounter.  

Canadian Girls win the Bronze Medal
Grace Thomas, Bronze Medal, Individuals
Hanna / Grace, Silver Medal, Girls Doubles

Team Canada will bring home 4 from this event.  

The medal presentations will happen after the Finals are completed and pictures of the medals will be posted here!
Individual Medals

Doubles Medals 
Girls Team Medal Presentation

Boys Medal Presentation

Grace's Medal Haul

Team Canada

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Day 6: R16 and QF matches

We are heading into the big matches at the 2016 Pan American Jr. Squash Championships.  Canada is seeded 4th in the Boys Draw and 3rd in the Girls draw.  8:00am we left the dorm to walk over the squash courts and you can already feel the heat of the day starting in Philadelphia.  There are 3 encounters today and winning all the encounters will put both Canadian Teams in the SF tomorrow morning at 9:00am

9:00am Team Canada Boys vs Trinidad and Tobago

Match 1: Brock Janzer vs Kobie Kahn-Hunt
Canada 3-0

Match 2: Noel Heaton vs Nicolas Caddle
Canada 3-0

Match 3: Brett Schille vs Jonathon Blanc
Canada 3-0

2:30pm Quarter Finals Team Canada Boys vs Argentina: 2-1 win for Team Canada (LIVE Stream

Match 1:Brett Schille vs Jeremias Azana
Argentina 3-2

Match 2: Julian Gosset vs Juan Barreyro
Canada 3-1

Match 3: Noel Heaton vs Miguel Pujo
Canada 3-0

Oh Snap Semi-finals tomorrow at 9:00 am with Mexico.  If there was a tense encounter...this was the one.  65min match to open up and we were down 1-0.  Great job staying focussed on court Noel and Brett!  

5:00pm Team Canada Girls vs Chile

2-0 for Canada

Match 1:h Emma Macgillivary vs Default
Canada 3-0

Match 2: Grace Thomas vs Antonia Vera
Canada 3-0

Match 3: Rhea Dhar vs Camila Gallegos
NO Match

Since Chile has only 2 players Canada once again has to only win 1 match.  Grace Thomas did the job and we have two teams in the Team Championships Semi-final at 9:00am.

Boys play Mexico
Girls play either Mexico or Paraguay

Friday, August 26, 2016

Day 5: End of Pool Play

9:00am: Team Canada Boys vs Team Chile:

First up, Julien Gosset vs Matias Lacroix,  
3-1 Canada
After a tight 1st game, Julien managed to tire out his opponent.  In the remaining 3 games the combination of Julien's tight length and snappy short game neutralized the Chilean giving Canada a 3-1 win.

2nd Match, Brock Janzer vs Jose Gallegos, 
3-0 Canada
Good job Brock.  Brock went on court and stayed steady throughout the match.  Each game followed a similar pattern, equal play through the first half (to 5 All) then errors from the Chilean and the win for Brock.

3rd Match, Noel Heaton vs Felipe Quezada, 
3-0 Canada
Chili has now lost the encounter, but the rules of round robin play require all 3 matches to be played.  Our Chilean opponent is struggling with motivation, as we have seen stronger play from Felipe earlier this week.  Straight forward win for Noel.

Player NameCanadaGuatemalaChileParaguay

11:30am: Team Canada Girls vs Team Chile:

First match Hanna Blatt vs Antonia Vera,
3-0 Canada

2nd Match: Emma Macgillivary vs Default,
3-0 Canada

3rd Match: Rhea Dhar vs Camila Gallegos,
3-0 Canada

Player NameCanadaArgentinaChile

3:00pm: Team Canada Boys vs Team Guatemala:

First Match: Julien Gosset vs Junior Franco,
Canada 3-2
Julien has a silky swing and when he uses it his opponents are going to be in trouble.  In the first two game Julien was trying to flick the ball.  In the third the pressure started to get and Franco as he was digging from the corners.  In come from behind fashion Julien Stole the match in 5 games.

2nd Match: Brock Janzer vs Robert Urruela
Canada 3-0
Brock wasn't going to have trouble with this match.  But we all new that going into it.  Guatemala is a team with 2 strong players and they are relying on them to get to the medal round.  Brock did his job finished strong for the next time he's going to step on court.  

3rd Match: Noel Heaton vs Jose Merida
Canada 3-0
The scouting reports for this match had Jose injured and not at his best.  Game Plan: keep the rallies wrong and see what he is made of.  Well not enough as Noel punished him with some inch perfect dying length.  

Canada Finish top in their pool.  We start elimination round tomorrow morning.  First match will be with Trinidad and Tobago at 9:00am

Player NameCanadaGuatemalaChileParaguay

5:30pm: Team Canada Girls vs Team Argentina: 

First match: Grace Thomas vs Clara Freytes
Canada 3-0

2nd Match: Rhea Dhar vs Della Maddallena
Canada 3-0

3rd Match: Hanna Blatt vs L Effenberger
Canada 3-0

Player NameCanadaArgentinaChile

Canadian Girls finish first in their pool and be playing elimination from position 3rd/4th. First match will be at 5:00pm against the winner of Chile and Elsalvador.

What's with these shaggy, retro 70's, Canadian lumber jack squash coaches! Give the man an axe and send him home to cut some trees.  

Haha!  Wish us Luck!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Day 4 : Start of Team Competition and Doubles Final

Our first match of pool play and we got through with a 3-0 win over Paraguay.  This encounter was not without its hiccups.  In the end the referees have the process sorted out how to start the Team encounters.  Thing will run smoother as the encounters go forward.

Our next 2 encounters will get tougher as we match up with Chile at 9:00am tomorrow followed by Guatemala at 3:30pm

2016 Pan-American Junior ChampionshipsBoys' Team Pool D
Player Names

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 3 - Girls SF and Doubles QF / SF


9:00am Grace Thomas stepped on Court with Mariam Kamal (US) for the Semi-Finals of the individual competition.  Mariam is ranked 1 position below Chloe Chemtob in the US rankings and smashes the ball like no other girl in the tournament.  Grace did not start strong.  The first game maybe lasted 5 min in total.  With a little cheering Grace lengthened the rallies and started to work her opponent around the court.  The desired effect of taking the sting out of Mariam's shots, although Grace still lost the second game.  The damage done in the 2nd game worked as Grace was able to get back a game in the 3rd with some good dying length.  To no avail because Mariam, an experienced player, was not going to let it slip away and closed the match 3-1.  Grace will take home the Bronze medal in the 2016 Pan Am Jr. Squash Championships.  

10:00am Canada's Boys Doubles Team Brett Schille and Noel Heaton were up against the #1 seeded Mexican Team.  Boys doubles is fast and rough.  The players not hitting the ball are continually jostling for position of the centre of the court.  Canada would not win this match today, but they did learn a valuable lesson, by changing their strategy and playing front/back rather than sides they were able to neutralize their opponents. 

11:00am QF and 4:00pm SF:  Canada's Girls Doubles Team Grace Thomas and Hanna Blatt had two matches today.  The first match put them up against US Team.  This was the first real test of the girls ability to work the ball against the quick pace of the US Team.  It was a battle of getting used to the extra people on court and the slight change to the ruling of Lets and strokes.  The match came down to the very last possible point.  Both teams tied 1 game a piece and 10 ALL in the third, with the US Team fighting off 4 match balls.  The US served to Hanna and she blasted a cross court back at the server which died at the crack of the back wall.  Match Canada and a Semi-Final at 4:00pm with Team Columbia.

Amazingly, this match took less time than the Match against the US.  I think Hanna and Grace were more comfortable on the court and seemed to move the Columbian girls around more effectively.  This was a 20 minute SF and a birth in the final tomorrow with Mexico at 5:00pm

Tomorrow the boys start Round Robin play against Paraguay at 10:00am on court 6 (not live streamed)  

The girls will play Chile at 11:30am on the 26th of August


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Day 2


Grace Thomas dominates QF match and move to the SF tomorrow 9:00am EST

We are are playing the QF of the individual draws at 6:00pm EST.  Team Canada has one lone athlete playing for a position in the Semi-Finals.  All athletes reaching the Semi-Finals receive a medal in the competitions (1 gold for 1st, 1 Silver for 2nd, and 2 bronze for SF).  Grace Thomas will be on court 4 (Live Steam) against the Mexican, Paulina Delatorre.  If you get a chance to watch cheer us on!

The beginning of the day started with a Team Canada head to head match between Grace and Rhea.  This match ran the distance of 3 games with Grace moving to the QF's.  (sorry I didn't see the match)

On the adjacent court Brett Schille would meet up with Cole Becker of the US.  Brett played the match cool and confidently.  In the first game he was down to his opponent and managed to fight off 2 games balls and win the first 12-10.  The second saw Brett steam role to the finish and a 11-6 win.  A had full of errors in the 3rd gave Cole some breathing room and his first game of the match.  We all have off games.  In the 4th Brett began with renewed enthusiasm and commanded a strong 8-3 lead in the game.  Unfortunately the tough back and forth of the match left Cole stronger and Brett just a fraction of an inch (american reference) short of the ball.  At this point the 5th game was taken by Cole and the end of individuals for Brett.

Julien Gosset was up next against the Mexican Eduardo Graciano.  This was a scrappy match right from the outset.  Both boys battling for supremacy of their movement styles of the court.  We experienced many a 'LET" and some "NO LETs" by the referee in the mid court zone.  Eduardo won the first game quite easily, but Julien stepped up in the 2nd and evened the playing field.  Feeling good after two, there was more tight movement on the court and many a let called.  In the end Julien lost the match in 4 to the Graciano.  But we do look forward to playing the Mexicans again in Team play.

Hanna Blatt took to the court for her R16 match against Sara Vallejo (COL).  Hanna the ever confident player came out with the 1st game win with her hard and fast paced play (I'm told, as I didn't see the full match).  Sara managed to get in Hanna's head in the second game and find rhythm with Hanna's cross courts (meaning she started pressuring Hanna's around the court).  At 1-1 we start the match anew playing a best of 3.  Unfortunately it looked like Hanna did not find the confidence in shot selection.  Sara Vallejo won the last two games of the match and knocked Hanna out of the individuals.

Boys Doubles                         Boys Singles
Girls Doubles                         Girls Singles

This is the end of the individual play for the morning and on to softball doubles.

First Up:
Heaton / Schille (CAN) vs Blanc / Caddle (TT)
If it matters, Trinidad and Tobago were super nice people and players, look forward to talking with them again.  Well, Noel and Brett, did win this match in easy fashion 2-0.  It was good to have an easier 1st round match as the boys need to get the serving rules and some of the shot selection in their heads.  We see more mid court drives, drives down the middle of the court, and lobs in soft ball doubles.  Games are played to 11 and sudden death, no extra points.  Tomorrow we match up against Sam Scherl / Grace Doyle (US)

Our Second:
Blatt / Thomas (CAN) vs Barcant / Yearwood (TT)
Again we get matched up with Trinidad and Tobago.  The new pairing of Grace and Hanna worked out as they won the match 2-0 and got stronger as the match went on.  Their next match will be more challenging as they go up against Cameron Munn / Madeline Chai (US)

And the 3rd:
 Janzer / Dhar (CAN) vs Coral / Vallejo (COL)
With the luck of the draw you can't always get the easy matches...This columbian team was good and new how to play.  They went after Rhea (new to doubles) with a vengeance.  I think Rhea play 75% of the shots for Team Canada.  After a shaky start, Brock and Rhea did settle into the game and got used to the pressure.  But it would too little to late and lost 2-0 to Columbia.

Here are some more pics of the event:

Ben and Brett between games Day 1

Ben and Jackie wandering campus looking for a package delivered from SQ Can  (Coach 1 and Coach 2)

Girls Team before opening ceremonies

The whole girls team
Thanks for the composition jackie!

Monday, August 22, 2016

End of Day 1, Round of 32 completed

Welcome to the Pan AM Jr squash Championships!   

In the end we had 5 athletes make it through the round of 32.  This is a tough tournament.  For most of the players travelling to this event from South America this is the biggest event they will get to.  They are here to play every match like it is there last, their team cheers loudly and aggressively for every point they win.  They cheer if they hit a winner, they cheer if you hit a tin, it is passionate and loud.  Get into the spirit of the competition.  

Tomorrows order of play:

1. 9:50am Rhea Dhar (CAN) vs Grace Thomas (CAN) Court 4
2. 9:50am Brett Schille (CAN) vs Cole Becker (USA) Court 5
3. 10:40am Julien Gossett (CAN) vs Eduardo Graciano (MEX) Court 6
4. 11:30am Hanna Blatt (CAN) vs Sara Vallejo (COL) Court 3
5. 2:00pm Heaton / Schille (CAN) vs Blanc / Caddle (TT) Court 3 (Boys Doubles)
6. 2:00pm Blatt / Thomas (CAN) vs Barcant / Yearwood (TT) Court 6 (Girls Doubles)
7. 3:40pm Janzer / Dhar (CAN) vs Coral / Vallejo (COL) Court 5 (Mixed Doubles)


Boys Doubles                         Boys Singles
Girls Doubles                         Girls Singles

 Our Boys Team dress in all white for the opening Ceremonies.

After a long first day of highs and lows, crazy come from behind wins, we need to some super.  After the opening ceremonies we walked over to the University of Penn campus and found a BBQ restaurant and indulged in a hearty meal of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, with some classic sides like, baked beans and some good old fashion corn bread...mmmm good