The U.S. beach team of Chase Budinger/Miles Evans fought through the qualifier, battled to the final and took the silver medal at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Saquarema Challenge on Sunday in Brazil.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 24, 2023) – U.S. beach teams won gold and silver medals at the opening 2023 NORCECA Beach Tour event on Sunday in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
The men’s team of Chase Frishman/Cody Caldwell won gold in Mexico while the women’s team of Geena Urango/Carly Skjodt took silver.
In the men’s final, Frishman/Caldwell beat Mexico’s Juan Virgen/Miguel Sarabia 2-1 (14-21, 22-20, 15-7). Virgen is a 2016 Olympian.
“In the first set, they beat us well and got the crowd going, I was kind of exhausted. Mexico is a very respected team, Virgen is an Olympian and Sarabia is super skilled,” Frishman told NORCECA. “In the second set, my partner had a couple of big plays, which turned the momentum; my side-out started to steady out giving me confidence.”
Frishman/Caldwell went 6-0 for the tournament. In the quarterfinals, they beat their fellow U.S. team of Alex Diaz/Brandon Joyner, who went on to finish in eighth place after taking an injury forfeit in the seventh-place match.
Urango/Skjodt finished 5-1, falling to Mexico’s Atenas Gutiérrez/Abril Flores in the final 2-0 (21-13, 21-19).
Urango/Skjodt were set to face their U.S. teammates Katie Lindstrom/Teegan Van Gunst in the semifinals, but Lindstrom/Van Gunst took an injury forfeit. In the bronze medal match, Lindstrom/Van Gunst fell to Mexico’s Katherine Albarrán/Susana Torres 2-0 (21-16, 21-17).
The men’s gold medal was Frishman’s second NORCECA win. He took first in 2018 in Varadero, Cuba, with partner Avery Drost. It was Caldwell’s first NORCECA tournament and first gold medal.
Seven U.S. beach teams are scheduled to play this week at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event on April 26-30 in Uberlândia, Brazil.
For the women, Sara Hughes/Kelly Cheng, Kristen Nuss/Taryn Kloth, Julia Scoles/ Betsi Flint and Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil will start in the main draw while Kelley Kolinske/Hailey Harward will open in the qualifier.
For the men, Tri Bourne/Chaim Schalk and Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander will both start in the qualifier.