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Kelly Claes, Sarah Sponcil Make A Silver Medal Splash at FIVB 4-Star Tournament

By Blythe Lawrence | Jan. 06, 2019, 10:07 a.m. (ET)

Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil pose for a photo at the FIVB 4-Star Tournament on Jan. 6, 2019 in The Hague, Netherlands.


Volleyball world, take note of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil.

The duo made a statement as on Sunday as Claes and Sponcil finished second at the FIVB 4-Star tournament in The Hague, Netherlands. While they didn’t get past Brazilian standouts Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti in the final, Claes and Sponcil did top some impressive teams to get there.

Claes, who played in college for the Southern California, and Sponcil, who started for Loyola Marymount and UCLA, opened up their campaign in the Hague on Wednesday with a sweep against Ukraine’s Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova 21-19, 21-14 before losing a hard-fought match to Germany’s Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger 21-15, 19-21, 11-15. 

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Undeterred, the pair roared back against Russians Maria Voronina and Mariia Bocharova for a 21-9, 21-5 sweep in round one of the main draw before topping U.S. teammates Emily Day and Betsi Flint 13-21, 21-19, 15-9 in round two. 

A win over Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo 21-19, 25-23 advanced them to the semifinals on Saturday, where they bested Finland’s Anniina Parkkinen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen 21-19, 21-18, 15-8 to advance to the gold medal match. They ended their run in the Hague with a 2-0 loss to the Brazilians, falling 21-10, 21-18. 

Elsewhere, two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and Alix Klineman fell to Finland’s Parkkinen and Lahti-Liukkonen 15-21, 21-13, 15-6 in the bronze medal match on Sunday morning. The duo reached the semifinals undefeated before falling 21-17, 21-19 to eventual winners Silva and Cavalcanti.

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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