(L-R) Summer Ross and Sara Hughes celebrate after winning gold at the four-star FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour on Aug. 12, 2018 in Moscow.
Summer Ross and Sara Hughes won their first gold medal as a team in the final four-star FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament of the season on Sunday in Moscow.
The duo, which made its international debut just four months ago, edged a strong Brazilian team of Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa, winning 21-19, 12-21, 15-12. It was the first world tour win ever for Hughes, the 2017 FIVB Rookie of the Year.
“That was so amazing, especially being my first world tour final,” she said on FIVB’s live stream of the event. “Being in the final meant everything and I’m so happy to have had this girl by my side. Brazil played great, but we competed hard and came out with the win.”
Ross and Hughes bounced back from their second-set loss and stayed a step ahead of the Brazilians from the start of the deciding set. They scored the first point to put themselves in the driver’s seat and built an 11-8 lead before bringing it home.
“The first point meant everything,” Ross said. “We knew we’d need every point we could get.”
Hughes and Ross announced in March that they were splitting from their partners to form a team. It was a major change for Hughes, who won four national titles at USC with longtime partner Kelly Claes. Ross competed in 2017 with Olympian Brooke Sweat and the two won silver in Moscow last season.
Ross and Hughes made their debut in April at the four-star tournament in Xiamen, China. They won their first FIVB World Tour medal together when they took bronze at the Espinho four-star event in Portugal in July.
The FIVB World Tour Finals will take place next week in Hamburg, Germany.