Claes and Sponcil on course for first World Tour gold
Kelly Claes (left) and Sarah Sponcil are into their first 4-Star gold medal match
The Hague, Netherlands, January 5, 2019 – Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil will be chasing their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal when they take on Ana Patricia and Rebecca in the 4-Star Dela Beach Open gold medal match on Sunday.
The Americans defeated Finland’s Taru Lahti and Anniina Parkkinen 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-8) on Saturday, while Brazilians Ana Patricia and Rebecca defeated the 2018 gold medallists April Ross and Alexandra Klineman of the USA 2-0 (21-17, 21-19).
“They are a great team and we are just happy to be out here,” Claes said. “It is so much fun playing indoor, it gives you a different perspective, and we’re trying to work on our team chemistry and it worked really well out there.”
Claes and Sponcil have already won a first World Tour medal, bronze at the Qinzhou 3-Star and also reached the second knockout round at the 4-Star Las Vegas tournament, but they remain on course to better those finishes in only their third tournament together.
“I knew that they would be serving me most of the time,” Sponcil said. “I was working on my pass and making sure Kelly was an option, but also being able to come in strong myself. We just reset and knew it would be a battle and that we had to take it point by point.”
Ana Patricia and Rebecca will be chasing their third World Tour medal, and their second from a 4-Star tournament following their silver from Las Vegas in October 2018.
The Brazilians had to fight back in the second set and after the Americans saved three match points Rebecca won the match with a lob shot to the back of the court.
“It was very hard because the USA are a very strong, but we stuck together and we are very happy to have this victory,” Ana Patricia said.
The tournament runs from January 2-6 and is being played on indoor beach courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark. It is the second year in a row that The Hague has hosted a tournament at this time of year and it has proved popular among the players who are able to compete at a top-level tournament when they would normally be involved in warm weather training.