COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2022) – American beach pairs took up half the podium at the NORCECA Beach Tour stop in La Paz, Mexico, as U.S. duos won three medals – including both golds – over the weekend.
Evan Cory/Bill Kolinske and Carly Kan/Kaitlyn Leary won their respective brackets, and Savvy Simo/Megan Gebhard took bronze. It’s the first time this year an American team won gold on the NORCECA Tour, and it’s the Beach National Team’s first three-medal tournament of 2022 as well.
After each pair won their pool and swept a quarterfinal contest, Kan/Leary beat Simo/Gebhard in a tightly contested semifinal, 2-0 (26-24, 21-19). Kan/Leary faced Maria Gonzalez/Allanis Navas of Puerto Rico in the gold medal match, dropping the first set but coming back to win, 2-1 (18-21, 23-21, 15-8).
Simo/Gebhard rebounded from the semifinal loss to edge Mexico’s Atenas Gutierrez/Maria Quintero, 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-11) for bronze.
Cory/Kolinske also went undefeated. After winning their pool, the pair faced the tournament’s fourth, second, and top-seeded teams in the knockout stage, winning each match in two sets. They downed Juan Virgen/Miguel Sarabia of Mexico 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) to clinch the gold.
Also competing in La Paz, Tim Brewster/Logan Webber rebounded from a quarterfinal loss to finish fifth.
Plenty of Firsts
Cory, Kan and Leary each claimed the first tournament victory of their international careers, Kan and Leary’s coming during their international debut. Also earning their first international medals were Simo and Gebhard. They had fallen one win short of a medal after taking fourth at the NORCECA event in Aguascalientes, Mexico, last month.
Last Call for Qualifying
There are three Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour events this weekend, and all three provide a last chance for pairs to earn entry points towards the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship next month. The Challenge event in Kusadasi, Turkey, has the most points on the line and the deepest field. Two Futures events are also taking place in Madrid, Spain (women only), and Rhodes, Greece (men only). Each tournament will have U.S. athletes competing.
Eight U.S. pairs are in Turkey for the Kusadasi Challenge: two men’s pairs and six women’s. Teams competing in the main draw are:
- Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb
- Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil
- Corinne Quiggle/Sarah Schermerhorn
Beginning in the qualifier are:
- Chase Budinger/Troy Field
- Emily Stockman/Megan Kraft
- Taryn Kloth/Kristen Nuss
- Jade Race/Kim Hildreth
- Melissa Fuchs Powell/Tambre Nobles
Each team has competed in at least one international tournament this season except Stockman/Kraft. Stockman played the first three tournaments of the year with Lauren Fendrick, twice taking ninth. Kraft, a reigning Beach U19 world champion, helped USC win the NCAA Division I beach national title this spring. At age 19, she’s played in two professional international events and two age group world championships.
Every match in Kusadasi will be streamed live on VolleyballWorld.tv (subscription required).
Madrid Futures (women)
Two of Kraft’s USC teammates, Audrey and Nicole Nourse, will begin the Madrid Futures in the qualifier. The Nourse twins played in five FIVB tournaments during the 2019 season, finishing fifth three times. Both made the 2021 U.S. Beach U21 National Team, but only Nicole was able to compete in the FIVB Beach U21 World Championship as Audrey was injured.
Rhodes Futures (men)
Webber joins Miles Evans for the Futures event on Rhodes Island in Greece. They’ll begin play in Thursday’s qualifier. The two competed in the Tlaxcala Challenge qualifier together to open the 2022 season.
Getting to Rome
As it’s the final week of qualifying, let’s see how teams can reach the Beach Volleyball World Championship, which takes place in Rome June 10-19:
The 25 teams per gender with the highest amount of FIVB Entry Points earn automatic berths. This number includes Italy’s two entries per gender regardless of ranking that are guaranteed to a host country.
Four teams per gender per continental confederation earn bids via Qualification Tournaments. Schermerhorn/Quiggle and Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander will qualify for Worlds via their finish in the NORCECA Qualifying Tournament last month.
Note: only four American teams per gender may earn berths via the world rankings and continental qualification, and the rankings take priority. Should four U.S. teams of a gender qualify via the rankings, Schermerhorn/Quiggle and/or Crabb/Sander will not receive the NORCECA berth.
The tournament organizing committee will distribute three wild card entries per gender. These would not be included in the U.S.’ maximum of four teams per gender.