Beach Update: U.S. Teams Medal in Xiamen, La Paz

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | April 22, 2018, 11 p.m. (ET)
Beach volleyball players stand atop the medal stand in Xiamen
From left, Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar stand atop the medal stand in Xiamen next to Canada (first place) and Australia (third).

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 22, 2018) – The new U.S. beach volleyball team of Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar got their partnership off to an auspicious start on Sunday by winning the silver medal at the FIVB World Tour four-star event in Xiamen, China.

Claes and Hochevar, who had to qualify for the main draw where they were seeded 22nd, fell to Canada’s top-seeded Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes in the final, 21-19, 21-14.

In Sunday’s semifinals, Claes and Hochevar defeated Australia’s Mariafe Del Solar Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, 21-19, 21-18. The 11th-seeded Australian pair had beaten Claes and Hochevar in their first pool play match.

With the silver medal, Claes and Hochevar won $16,000 and 720 FIVB ranking points. It was the first time either player had medaled at an FIVB World Tour event.

Two other U.S. women’s teams lost in the third round and finished tied for fifth: April Ross/Alix Klineman and the new team of Sara Hughes/Summer Ross.

Nicole Branagh/Kerri Walsh Jennings, who were making their return to the sand after a long break, tied for ninth, as did Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb.

Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman, John Hyden/Theo Brunner and Billy Allen/Ryan Doherty all finished tied for 17th. Miles Evans/Bill Kolinske did not make it out of qualifying.

The next FIVB World Tour event with U.S. players will be the FIVB Huntington Beach Open presented by the AVP on May 2-6 in California.

TWO SILVERS, TWO BRONZE IN LA PAZ

The U.S. beach teams of Kimberly Smith / Mackenzie Ponnet and Reid Priddy / Troy Field each took the silver medal at the NORCECA Beach Circuit event in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.

It was the second week in a row that Smith/Ponnet reached the NORCECA medal stand after taking gold in Aguascalientes, Mexico. For Priddy/Troy, it was the second silver medal in a row.

In the women’s final, Smith/Ponnet fell to Mexico’s Zaira Orellana/Martha Revuelta, 18-21, 21-14, 15-12. In the men’s final, Priddy/Field fell to Mexico’s Josue Gaxiola and José Cárdenas, 21-18, 21-12.

The teams of Kelly Reeves / Brittany Howard and Avery Drost / Chase Frishman each took the La Paz bronze.

In the bronze medal matches, Reeves/Howard beat Mexico’s Stephanie Burnside and Maria Jose Quintero, 21-15, 20-22, 15-10. Drost/Frishman defeated Canada’s Michael Platinga and Aaron Nusbaum, 21-16, 17-21, 15-13.

In the semifinals, Smith/Ponnet beat Reeves/Howard, 21-18, 21-9. Priddy/Field beat Drost/Frishman, 21-17, 29-27.

The next NORCECA Circuit event will be April 27-29 in Varadero, Cuba. Amanda Dowdy / Irene Pollock, Smith/Ponnet, Priddy/Field and Drost/Frishman are scheduled to compete.