ROSARITO, Mexico (March 26, 2022) – In just their first tournament together as a partnership, Kelly (Claes) Cheng/Betsi Flint will play for a medal at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Rosarito Elite 16 in Rosarito, Mexico.
The pair face Talita da Rocha Antunes/Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva of Brazil for bronze Sunday, March 27, at 12:45 p.m. Pacific.
Cheng/Flint advanced to the bronze medal match after a 2-1 (23-25, 22-20, 15-9) loss to the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam, Olympians from Tokyo 2020, during the semifinal round.
“Netherlands played unbelievable,” Flint said. “They were siding out really well there in the third set. It was tough to stop them.
“We’re so excited we still get to play for a medal, though,” Flint continued. “We’ll regroup after this and find a way of getting that win.”
To reach the semifinals, Claes/Flint downed 2019 world champions Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada, 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in the quarterfinals. The Americans led every offensive category, holding an 8-0 advantage in service aces.
Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske and Emily Day/April Ross also reached the quarterfinals, but both pairs lost and finished tied for fifth. Hughes/Kolinske, who started the tournament in the qualifier, saw their run ended by a two-set loss to Talita/Rebecca. Day/April, meanwhile, fell to Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Kravcenoka, who will play Stam/Schoon for gold.
The Rosarito Elite 16 is just the second tournament Beach Pro Tour event of the year, and Cheng/Flint didn’t compete in the first last week in Tlaxcala, Mexico. They paired up over the offseason.
“I was looking for someone who complimented my playstyle, and Betsi’s very creative,” Cheng said of the partnership. “I was very excited when we got on the court together and we meshed pretty quickly. Playing off each other has been really good.”