Two American duos and Canada into Ostrava  women’s quarterfinals

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic, June 2, 2023.- USA’s Hughes & Cheng, Cannon & Sponcil and Melissa & Brandie of Canada won their pools to jump into the last eight of the women’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16.

Without dropping a single set in pool play, Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng cruised directly into quarterfinals as one of the four pool winners. So did Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson. Terese Cannon & Sarah Sponcil of the United States and Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller of Germany booked the other two direct tickets to the last eight of the tournament.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 event live on VBTV.

Having started off their Ostrava campaign with a straight-set victory over the world’s number three team Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg of Brazil on Thursday, Hughes & Cheng continued their Pool C journey with two more shutouts on Friday. First, the Americans mastered a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win over Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia, seeded third in Ostrava, taking advantage of the many unforced errors of the opponents. Then, they dominated over compatriots Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles on the way to a 2-0 (21-13, 21-11) sweep. The three-way tie between the remaining teams in the pool was resolved on point ratio in favour of Clancy & Mariafe for the runner-up spot and Scoles & Flint for the third place, leaving Barbara & Carol out of contention.

Melissa & Brandie followed up on their two straight-set wins on Thursday with another one on Friday to top the final Pool D standings on a flawless record. The Canadian qualifiers handed another shutout, 2-0 (21-19, 21-16), to fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk & Rebecca Cavalcanti of Brazil.

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada

Despite falling 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) to reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil, Terese Cannon & Sarah Sponcil kept their place on top of the Pool A table to progress to the quarterfinals. In what proved to be a crucial battle for the third place in the pool, USA’s Kristen Nuss & Taryn Kloth claimed a 2-0 (23-21, 21-9) win over European champions Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia, their first of the tournament, but enough to overtake the opponents in the standings and send them home.

VW Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16: schedule and results

In men, US qualifiers Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh, finished third in Pool D to stay alive in the tournament, while a three-way tie in Pool A between teams with 1-2 win-loss records was resolved on point ratio which left USA’s Crabb & Brunner out of contention.

Cannon & Sponcil and Melissa & Brandie march on in Ostrava main draw

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic, June 1, 2023.- On Thursday, USA’s Terese Cannon & Sarah Sponcil were the first team to score two victories at Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 women’s main draw.

However, Canadian qualifiers Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson were the first duo to secure their spot in the women’s quarterfinals after also sweeping both their games.

Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 event live on VBTV.

Opening court 2 for action in the early morning, Cannon & Sponcil, seeded bottom 16th, engaged in a Pool A battle with fellow Americans Kristen Nuss & Taryn Kloth and battled their way to a 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) victory with a 23-point contribution from Sponcil.

In the second leg of pool play, Cannon & Sponcil repeated their result from the first match and managed a 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) shutout of Anastasija & Tina. At the same time, Duda & Ana Patricia bounced back from losing the first set to Nuss & Kloth and saved their chances of advancing to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-7) comeback victory. Ana Patricia hammered out as many as 33 points against 27 from Kloth.

Taryun Kloth USA digs

In Pool D, 13th-seeded Melissa & Brandie started their day with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) shutout of fifth-seeded Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli of Switzerland. Brandie was the best scorer of the match with 20 points, including three aces and three blocks. In the afternoon, the Canadians disappointed the home crowd with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) sweep of their game against Czechia’s Barbora Hermannova & Marie-Sara Stochlova to secure a top-two finish in the pool after the last leg on Friday.

Straight-set matches marked the first leg in Pool C. USA’s Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng found no match in the world’s number three team Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg of Brazil, who had to make their way to the main draw through Wednesday’s qualifiers. The Americans dominated the game to master a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) sweep with a 21-point match high from Cheng. At the same time, at centre court, Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalists Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia, seeded third, hammered out a 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) shutout of Americans Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles.

Women’s pool play resumes on Friday morning at 08:30 local time (06:30 UTC).

In men, Germans Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers started with a win, a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-6) comeback against American qualifiers Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh. The Americans then bounced back with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) sweep of their meeting with the Chilean cousins Grimalt  with a 24-point tally from Partain.

USA’s Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner bounced back from their loss to French Youssef Krou & Arnaud Gauthier-Rat 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-11) comeback victory over Brazilians Pedro Solberg & Guto, as Brunner hammered out 29 points, including seven blocks and two aces.

Men’s pool play resumes on Friday morning at 10:10 local time (08:10 UTC).

VW Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16: schedule and results

Three American teams and one from Canada on way to Ostrava Elite16 main draw

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic, May 31, 2023.- American men duos of Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner and Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh, USA’s Terese Cannon & Sarah Sponcil and Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson in women, earned a spot in the main draw at the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Ostrava that got underway on Wednesday with the qualification brackets.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 event live on VBTV.

Cannon & Sponcil were the first team to qualify for Thursday’s main draw. After a 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) shutout of China’s Xinxin Wang & Lingdi Zhu, the Americans then faced Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte, and despite the opponents’ driven performance in the first set, produced a 2-0 (22-20, 21-10) shutout.

Qualification bracket seeding leaders Melissa & Brandie were merciless in both of their matches, first cruising to a 2-0 (21-2, 21-7) blowout of Czechia’s Anna Pavelkova & Katerina Pavelkova, then hammering out a 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) sweep of Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre, to book the last vacancy in the 16-team women’s main draw.

Brandie Wilkerson of Canada receiving

In men, Crabb & Brunner had to deal with a match against compatriots, but in the first round, when they claimed a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) win over fellow Americans Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne. Their second match offered a fierce three-set battle with Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz, in which Crabb & Brunner came back from a set down to squeeze out a narrow 2-1 (24-26, 21-18, 18-16) victory.

Partain & Benesh followed a similar path through the qualifier grind. First, they knocked out French hopefuls Arthur Canet & Teo Rotar with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) sweep, but then they had to battle back from a set down against Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak & Mart Tiisaar to stop the clocks deep into the tie-breaker overtime at a 2-1 (15-21, 21-11, 19-17) victory.

Main draw action on Thursday starts at 08:30 local time (06:30 UTC) with women’s pool play, as reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil take on reigning European champions Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia at centre court, while Cannon & Sponcil engage in an all-American duel with Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss on court 2.

Teams from NORCECA who entered the women’s main draw from the beginning are all from USA: Sara Hughes/Kelly Cheng, Kristen Nuss/Taryn Kloth, Julia Scoles/Betsi Flint.

Kloth and Nuss come back to win Uberlândia Elite16

UBERLANDIA, Brazil, April 30, 2023.- Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss recovered from a first-set loss to celebrate their first victory at an Elite16 event at Praia Clube following their three-set (16-21, 24-22, 15-13) win over Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho in the gold medal match.

This week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Uberlândia didn’t start the way Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss planned, but the Americans couldn’t have hoped for a better finish as they stood at the top of the podium in Brazil at the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday.

Brazilians Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Ana Patrícia Ramos, who defeated the Americans in their opening match on Thursday, took bronze in front of their home fans.

All Beach Pro Tour Uberlândia Elite16 matches are available on VBTV.

The same resilience the Americans showed to recover from their opening-match loss and advance all the way to the gold medal match was also displayed in the final, as Kloth and Nuss came back from a first-set setback to turn the tables and top the Tokyo Olympic silver medallists in the tiebreaker.

“They’re an incredible team,” Nuss said about their comeback. “We respect them a lot and it’s always fun when we get to play them. One of my bracelets says ‘trust’ and that’s what we did after we lost the first set. We trusted our team and trusted our training. We live in Louisiana, where it’s just as hot and humid as here, so we really felt like we were home. We were feeling good, so it was just about trusting our team.”

The Australians were also the opponents Kloth and Nuss faced when they won their second Beach Pro Tour title, at last year’s Kuşadası Challenge. The two now have four gold medals at the international level, having also won last year’s Coolangatta Futures and the 2023 La Paz Challenge.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Kloth remarked. “We put everything we had to win each of the matches we played this week. We had so much fun and played in front of an incredible crowd the entire time. We’re obviously on a high right now, but tomorrow we’ll go back and do the same things we’ve been doing. We know the Olympic race is going to be really tight and we have to keep getting stronger.”

Beach Pro Tour Uberlândia Elite16 – Match Schedule & Results

Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss celebrate winning their first Elite16 Beach Pro Tour event

Last year’s Uberlândia Elite16 champions Duda and Ana Patrícia made it to the podium again in the city where they live by topping Americans Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes in two sets (21-16, 21-13) in the bronze medal match.

Earlier, in the semifinals, Clancy and Mariafe downed Duda and Ana Patrícia 2-0 (21-16, 25-23), while Kloth and Nuss prevailed in the all-American semifinal against Cheng and Hughes also in two sets (21-17, 21-11).

The next event on the 2023 Beach Pro Tour schedule will be the Madrid Futures, which will have the men playing in the Spanish capital from May 11-14 and the women competing from May 18-21. Ostrava, Czechia, will host the next Elite16 tournament from May 31-June 4.

NORCECA final positions

WOMEN 1. Nuss/Kloth (USA); 4. Cheng/Hughes (USA); 9. Cannon/Sponcil (USA); 13. Scoles/Flint (USA); 21. Kolinske/Harward(USA)
MEN 5. Schalk/Bourne (USA); 17. Schachter/Dearing (CAN);  21. Crabb/T. Sander (USA) 

Cheng and Hughes continue in spectacular form with Tepic Gold

TEPIC, Mexico, March 26, 2023.- Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes have been a force in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour since they became partners for the second time in their careers, last November, and the Americans celebrated their fourth title in the last four months on Sunday, at the Tepic Elite16, in Mexico.

The two dropped their first set in the tournament to Brazilians Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Ana Patrícia Ramos in the gold medal match at the Amado Nervo Auditorium, but still managed to overcome the reigning world champions in the tie-breaker (21-14, 15-21, 15-10) and stand at the top of the podium. Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho took bronze.

All Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 matches are available on demand on VBTV.

Cheng and Hughes have been nearly unstoppable in their second stint as partners, having won four of the six Beach Pro Tour events they competed at since their reunion, including the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals.

Champions also at both the Challenge and the Elite16 tournaments held in Torquay, Australia, last year, the Americans have won 29 of the 33 international beach volleyball matches they played in the last four months.

“It’s been amazing,” Hughes reflected. “I’m so happy to be playing with Kelly and just working with our entire team. We’re putting together the right strategies and working as hard as we can. We have all the support back home and that’s what makes a good team.”

Hughes and Cheng dropped only one set in their campaign in Tepic

Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 – Results

After a brief point exchange in the first few plays, Hughes started to make a defensive impact in the match and generated and converted several counterattacks, giving the Americans an 11-7 lead. An ace from her increased their advantage to 13-7 right before the technical timeout. Forcing errors from the Brazilians and maintaining their side out steady, Cheng and Hughes remained in control until the end and won the set 21-14 with a kill from Hughes.

The Brazilians started the second set stronger and jumped ahead at 5-2 with a block from Ana Patrícia on Cheng. The two took a 12-9 lead into the technical timeout and improved their advantage to five points at 15-10 when Cheng made an offensive error. More stable, the South Americans had no issues continuing ahead until the end and tied the gold medal match when Duda put the ball down with a tip to make them win the set 21-15.

Both team’s offences started the tie-breaker in a good rhythm and the Americans got the first break at 6-3, with Cheng blocking Ana Patrícia and Hughes digging the Brazilian blocker and putting the ball down in consecutive plays. A transition kill from Duda and a hitting error from Cheng brought the difference down to a single point at 8-7, but the Americans got back-to-back points to get up 10-7 and secured the title with a block from Cheng that ended the set 15-10.

Hughes hits around Ana Patrícia’s block during the gold medal match

Clancy and Mariafe stepped on the podium for the second time this season and the fifth in their last six events by taking bronze in Tepic and repeating the finish they got in the season-opening Doha Elite16, held in February.

The Tokyo Olympic silver medalists had to work hard, but downed Italian qualifiers Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi in the tie-breaker (16-21, 21-17, 19-17) to finish third in Mexico.

The Beach Pro Tour continues next week, with a Futures tournament set to take place in Coolangatta Beach, Australia, from Wednesday to Sunday. The next Elite16 event will be played in Uberlândia, Brazil, from April 26-30.

Tepic Elite16 main draw set after top-level qualifier

TEPIC, Mexico, March 23, 2023.- The last four spots in each gender in the main draw of the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 were filled on Wednesday, when the qualifier took place in the two sand courts set up at the Amado Nervo Auditorium.

After the completion of the 24 matches of the day, men’s duos from Italy, the Netherlands and USA, and women’s teams from France, Italy, Spain and USA earned the right of competing among the 16 tandems that will fight for the titles in Mexico.

Watch the Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 live or on demand on VBTV.

The main draw begins on Thursday, at 9:00 local time (16:00 UTC) and the first 16 pool matches in each gender will be played. By the end of the day, each team will have played a pair of matches in Tepic.

Americans Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk were among the four men’s teams that succeeded in the men’s qualifier. A new team for the 2023 season, the two are playing in just their second tournament as partners and looking to bounce back from a 19th-place finish last week in La Paz, where they dropped both of their matches.

“Honestly, we didn’t feel at our best out there, but we’re working, we’re a new team,” Schalk remarked. “We’re working through stuff and it was awesome to find that energy and will to make it happen no matter what today. These qualifiers are absolutely gnarly, there are some amazing teams from all over the world here and to get through it was huge for us. We’re hungry and want to make a long run in the tournament.”

The Americans were challenged by a pair of Austrian teams on the qualifier in Tepic, overcoming Martin Ermacora and Philipp Waller in two sets (21-17, 21-15) and Robin Seidl and Moritz Pristauz in the tie-breaker (16-21, 21-19, 15-13).

Bourne and Schalk will be in Pool B in the main draw, where they’re going to face Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig, Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner and Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler.

Their fellow Americans and former partners Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner will complete Pool C, where they will compete with the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Italy’s Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri and Estonia’s Kusti Nõlvak/Mart Tiisaar. The USA duo moved forward with triumphs over Canada’s Sam Schachter/Dan Dearing and Brazil’s Andre Loyola/George Wanderley.

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss USA

Beach Pro Tour Tepic Elite16 – Match Schedule & Results

Among the four women’s teams advancing in the women’s qualifier were USA’s Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, the winners of last week’s La Paz Challenge. After topping Mexico’s Esperanza Albarran/Yeray Vidaurrazaga and Japan’s Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe in the qualifier, they will now have fellow Americans Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes, Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy and Mexico’s Abril Flores/Atenas Gutierrez as their next opponents on Pool D.

10 NORCECA teams in the Main Draw

Women Sarah Hughes / Kelly Cheng – USAJulia Scoles / Betsi Flint – USAMelissa Humana-Paredes / Brandi Wilkerson – CanadaSarah Pavan / Sophie Bukovec – CanadaTerese Cannon / Sarah Sponcil – USAAtenas Gutierrez / Abril Flores – Mexico

Men Juan Virgen / Miguel Sarabia – Mexico, Tri Bourne / Chaim Schalk – USA, Trevor Crabb / Theo Brunner – USA