Two U.S. U19 Beach Teams Advance to Semis

By Darci Miller | July 13, 2013, 6:27 p.m. (ET)

Darci Miller, USA Volleyball Communications Intern, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email:
USAV Facebook * @USA_Volleyball

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 13, 2013) – Two U.S. teams have advanced to the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships on Saturday in Porto, Portugal.

 Kelly Claes serves as she and partner Sara Hughes take on Joy Stubbe
and Marloes Hesselink of The Netherlands.

Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kelly Claes (Valencia, Calif.), seeded No. 7, upset two title favorites on Saturday to reach the final four. In the first elimination round, they defeated No. 14 Joy Stubbe and Marloes Hesselink of The Netherlands, 21-8, 21-13. Hughes and Claes went on to face the U21 champions, Poland’s No. 2 Katarzyna Kociolek and Jagoda Gruszczynska, and earned a 21-16, 21-19 win.

Three hours later, Hughes and Claes defeated No. 10 Nina Betschart (U21 champion in 2012 and 2011) and Nicole Eiholzer of Switzerland, 21-17, 21-15, to earn a spot in the semifinals.

“I was a little nervous,” Claes said in an FIVB press release. “I have been nervous the whole tournament because this is my first U19, but I just tried to think of them as just another team. Nothing different, nothing special.

“It has been a phenomenal first U19, it has been an amazing tournament. I have never been out of the country and get to do the sport that I love. It’s awesome." 

Hughes has played in youth and junior world championships before, finishing 4th at the U21 last year with Summer Ross.

“But this is my first U19 tournament that I made it past the second round, so Kelly helped me with that one. Overall we had a great day, got back in our rhythm. It was a good day," Hughes said.

Hughes and Claes will face off against third-seeded Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Taina Silva Bigi of Brazil in their semifinal match on July 14.

In the boys’ bracket, No. 9-seeded T.J. DeFalco (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Lucas Yoder (San Clemente, Calif.) began play in the second elimination round, where they defeated 12th-seeded Donovan Dzavoronok and Michael Hadrava of the Czech Republic, 21-14, 21-14. In Round 3, the duo beat Venezuela’s 15th-seeded Ronald Fayola and Jose Gregorio Gomez. DeFalco and Yoder, 21-8, 21-19 to win a spot in the semifinals. They will take on Moritz Weichert and Clemens Wickler of Germany, seeded No. 5, on Sunday.

The U.S. girls’ duo of Skylar Caputo (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Delaney Knudsen (Santa Clarita, Calif.), seeded No. 29, won its first elimination match against No. 31 Benedicte Maaseide and Cecilie Woie of Norway, 19-21, 21-16, 15-11. Caputo and Knudsen advanced to the second elimination round but fell to Eduarda and Taina, 21-11, 21-14. They finished in a tie for ninth place.

For more information about the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships, click here.