Betsi Flint dives for the ball against Zana Muno and Brandie Wilkerson (Canada) at the 2022 AVP Atlanta Open on Aug. 6, 2022 in Atlanta.
Beach volleyball partners Kelly (Claes) Cheng and Betsi Flint found perfection in Germany.
Entering this week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour action with a losing record in four previous Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 tournaments and a No. 10 seeding, Cheng and Flint didn’t lose a match in Hamburg, Germany.
They polished off an impressive tournament run Sunday with a 21-19, 21-18 victory in the gold-medal match against Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli of Switzerland.
Their win was the first for a U.S. team in the new Elite 16 format that was introduced this year. Each tournament features the top 16 teams in the world based on rankings points.
Cheng, a 2020 Olympian from Fullerton, California, and Flint, of Phoenix, lost just one set in the entire tournament, winning six consecutive matches and grabbing their first international tournament championship as a team. They did win an AVP Pro Beach Tour event in May in New Orleans.
Sunday marked the second time this season they reached the medal round in a Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event. They lost a bronze-medal match in March in Rosarito, Mexico.
Cheng had 13 attack points and five blocks for points in the title match.
Cheng and Flint swept Karla Borger and Julia Sude of Germany in Saturday’s semifinals by scores of 21-17, 21-18. They also swept Daniela Alvarez Mendoza and Tania Moreno Matveeva of Spain in the quarterfinals by scores of 28-26, 21-16.
Cheng and Flint defeated No. 2-seeded Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva of Brazil, No. 15-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Sarah Schulz of Germany, and No. 7-seeded Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands in pool play, dropping their only set to Laboureur and Schultz on Friday.
The next Elite 16 tournament is set for Sept. 28-Oct. 2 in Paris.