Naughton gets Canada off to strong start

squash_logoThe Canadian junior girls squash team recorded a 3-0 sweep of France on Wednesday (July 24) at the 2013 World Squash Junior Championships in Wroclaw, Poland. The victory means Canada will advance to the quarterfinals to face top seeded Egypt.

With identical 1-1 records in Pool B play, France and Canada matched up in a do-or-die affair with the winner of the final round robin match advancing to the medal round and the loser being sent to the consolation draw. The 7th seeded Canadians were a slight favourite over the 10th seeded French and would have to fight off a stiff challenge on the day to keep their medal hopes alive.

Canadian number one Hollie Naughton of Oakville was able to shake off Tuesday’s tough five game loss to Team USA and got Canada started on the right foot with a victory over French number one Lea Van Der Zwalmen. Naughton jumped out to a quick 2-0 game’s lead before surrounding the third set to Van Der Zwalmen. However, Naughton did not allow the Frenchwoman to capitalize on her momentum as Naughton immediately came back strong, taking the fourth game and the match for an 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 victory.

Alyssa Mehta was next up for Canada in the best of three singles affair and clinched a spot for Canada in the quarterfinals with a heroic comeback against Oceane Wadoux. Mehta dug a big hole for herself after she lost both the first and second games.

Down but not out, Mehta went for broke against Wadoux in an intense third game that went back and forth before Mehta finally clinched the game, 14-12. With Wadoux lamenting a missed chance to close out the match, Metha came back even stronger in the fourth game, recording an 11-5 score line. In the deciding fifth game, Mehta had both the momentum and confidence on her side and she closed out the match, and clinched a spot for Canada in the quarterfinals, with a 7-11, 4-11, 14-12, 11-5, 11-4 win.

Already holding an insurmountable 2-0 lead against France, Chloe Chemtob completed a sweep for Canada with a 13-11, 11-6, 15-13 victory over Laura Gamblin.