Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes on top of the podium
Kelly Cheng, left, and Sara Hughes atop the podium. Photo courtesy Volleyball World

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 30, 2023) – Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes got into the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals on a wild card, but ended up winning the trophy and a $150,000 prize.

In Sunday’s final, Cheng/Hughes beat the defending world champions from Brazil, Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos 2-0 (21-18, 21-16). It is the third straight international gold medal on the World Tour for Cheng/Hughes since they reunited as a team late last year.

“Kelly and I are so happy. That was just such an amazing finish,” Hughes told the Volleyball World. “I am so proud of her. She was absolutely perfect, and I think we are very steady as a team. We are so excited to come out with a win, and we are also looking forward to next week.”

“I am speechless right now. I’m really proud of our team,” Cheng added. “We have another tournament next week, so we are probably going to get some ice cream from the mall and then sleep for like 12 hours tonight. We’ll sleep and recover as best as we can and then get out and fight next week.”

Cheng/Hughes had to play their U.S. teammates Kristen Nuss/Taryn Kloth in the quarterfinals and won a battle, 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 24-22). Nuss/Kloth finished tied for fifth.

Cheng/Hughes will be looking for their fourth straight Pro Tour gold medal at the Doha Elite 16 event on February 1-5 in Qatar. It will the first event with qualifying points toward the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Other U.S. teams registered for the Doha Elite 16
Kristen Nuss/Taryn Kloth
Emily Stockman/Megan Kraft
Savi Simo/Toni Rodriguez

Main Draw
Sara Hughes/Kelly Cheng
Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil

Logan Webber/Evan Cory
Kyle Friend/Tim Brewster