Two US Beach Teams Qualify for U21 Championships

By Jessica Hall | July 23, 2014, 4:13 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 23, 2014) – Two U.S. beach volleyball teams qualified for the main draw at the FIVB Under-21 World Championships in Larnaka, Cyprus, on Wednesday.

The team of Alexa Strange and Delaney Knudsen qualified for the women’s main draw. The team of Hagen Smith and Christopher Orenic qualified for the men’ main draw.

Strange (San Clemente, Calif.) and Knudsen (Valencia, Calif.), seeded No. 10 in qualifying, had a bye in the first round and defeated Russia’s No. 7 Nadezda Makroguzova and Daria Rudykh, 18-21, 21-15, 15-13, in the second round. They later upset Australia’s No. 2 Shelby Maher and Stefanie Weiler, 19-21, 22-20, 15-12, in the third round to advance to the main draw.

Strange and Knusdsen will join their U.S. teammates Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kelly Claes (Placentia, Calif.) in the main draw starting on Thursday.

Top-seeded Smith (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) and Orenic (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had a first-round bye and defeated Australia’s No. 16 Simon Gray and Regan Fathers, 18-21, 21-14, 15-9, in the second round. The duo later defeated Poland’s No. 8 Tomasz Wierzbicki and Mateusz Lysikowski, 17-21, 21-17, 18-16, in the third round.

Smith and Orenic will join their U.S. teammates Branden Clemens (Carmel, Ind.) and Jackson Bantle (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) in the main draw starting on Thursday.