Sponcil and Claes ace Qinzhou main draw opener
Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes lead the USA pairs that won their main draw opening matches in the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 3-star event in Qinzhou, China
“We’re just focusing on the new partnership, so we are constantly talking and trying to change some things that we need to change, but I think we did good and focused on our side,” Sponcil said.
Sponcil and Claes are on top of Pool B rankings ahead of their compatriots Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock, who edged France’s Alexia Richard and Lezana Placette in three sets (21-10, 19-21, 15-9).
“The competition among the USA teams is excellent,” Claes said. “It’s fun coming out with other USA teams because we train together at home and it’s fun to see each other playing around the world.”
USA pairs also clearing their first day hurdles are Betsi Flint and Emily Day with a straight-set win in Pool D, and Kelly Reed and Brittany Howard with a 2-1 win in Pool H.
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China’s Wang Fan and Xue Chen who defeated Ukraine’s Diana Lunina and Maryna Samoday 2-0 (21-18, 21-11) in Pool A, while Wang Xinxin and Xia Xinyi rallied from a set down to win against Japan’s Yukako Suzuki and Kaho Sakaguchi 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 17-15).
Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth led Pool C after a 2-1 (21-15, 19-21, 15-9) win over Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko, while Spain’s Paula Soria and Ana Belen Carro dominated Pool E with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) triumph.
In other pool matches, Brazilian pairs Maria Clara Salgado Solberg and Elize Maia and Angela Lavalle and Carolina Horta finished the day on top of Pools F and H, respectively, while Russian tandem Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova took Pool G leadership.
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