Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss rejoice as Kuşadası Challenge champions

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss rejoice as Kuşadası Challenge champions

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss triumphed with the women’s trophy at the Kuşadası Challenge tournament on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. The 20th-seeded American duo’s quest on the Turkish sand, which started from the first qualification round on Thursday, took them all the way to the top of the podium. It was a second Tour gold for Kloth and Nuss in three participations, after the Coolangatta Futures trophy in early April.

Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar settled for the runner-up spot on the podium. At their previous Tour appearance in Doha, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists reached the semifinals, but finished fourth. In Kuşadası, however, they made the final to celebrate with their first Beach Tour medal.

Another American pair, seventh-seeded Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil claimed the bronze, also their first podium on the Beach Pro Tour.

· All the matches of the Kuşadası Challenge are available to watch on demand on Volleyball TV.

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The women’s podium in Kuşadası

Kristen Nuss scored four aces in a row to bring the gold medal match to a 14-7 American lead in the first set. Kloth and Nuss continued their domination on the court and brought the first set to an emphatic 21-12 win on a kill by Kloth for the last point. Clancy and Mariafe recovered from a 6-3 deficit in the second set and took the lead. Showing a solid game throughout the second half of the set, the third-seeded Aussies levelled the score after Mariafe’s off-the-block hit shaped up a 21-17 set win. The tie-breaker was very competitive. The lead went back and forth before the Australians reached the first match point on a successful attack by Mariafe for 14-13. The Americans kept their cool to regain control. Kloth’s cross-court kill gave them a 16-15 advantage, which was then converted to a 2-1 (21-12, 17-21, 17-15) victory on an opponent hit into the net.

“This was an exciting match and obviously a great opponent,” Kloth said after the final.

“I don’t even know if there are words... We just kept battling all weekend, all week...,” Nuss added. “Maybe we had a little bit of luck on our side with my serving, but they are a fantastic team and it was a fantastic battle!”

Kloth & Nuss v Clancy & Mariafe: Match Highlights

In the first set of the bronze medal match, Cannon and Sponcil broke away on an 11-1 run to take a 17-7 lead against eighth-seeded Sandra Ittlinger and Isabel Schneider. Sponcil hit the set winner for a 21-11 close. The Germans, however, fought back in the second set. They took a slight edge and paced ahead through almost the entire set. Finally, Ittlinger converted the second set point with a powerful hit for 21-17 to level the match. In the tie-breaker, the Americans fought back from an early three-point lag, caught up at 8-8 with three in a row and took over the scoreboard at 11-10. An ace by Sponcil delivered the match point and Cannon converted it with a kill block for a 2-1 (21-11, 17-21, 15-12) win.

Earlier on Sunday, Kloth and Nuss mastered a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) victory in an all-American semifinal against Cannon and Sponcil, while Clancy and Mariafe earned a hard-fought 2-0 (25-23, 21-18) win over Ittlinger and Schneider.