COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 5, 2022) – U.S. beach pair Jessica Gaffney/Molly Turner won bronze at the Beach Pro Tour’s Klaipeda Futures as two international tournaments along Eastern Europe’s Baltic Sea concluded Sunday.

Klaipeda (Lithuania) Futures

Gaffney/Turner began Sunday with semifinal matchup against Monika Paulikiene/Erika Kilokmanaite of Lithuania. The hometown pair won in two sets for a bid to the gold medal match, but the Americans responded with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) win over Estonia’s Heleene Hollas/Liisa Soomets to claim bronze.

The medal is the first of Gaffney’s career. Turner now has three international medals.

After reaching the Klaipeda main draw by beating fellow Americans Jade Race/Tiffany Cramer in the qualifier, Gaffney/Turner went 1-1 in pool play and faced an extra elimination match in the Round of 12. A three-set win over a pair from Germany sent them to the quarterfinals, where they picked up another two-set win to reach the semis.

Melissa Fuchs Powell/Tambre Nobles also competed in the Klaipeda qualifier.

Jurmala (Latvia) Elite 16

Three and a half hours to the northeast, six U.S. pairs competed at the Jurmala Elite 16, and half reached the playoffs. Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske took fourth place, winning their quarterfinal matchup against world No. 1 Katja Stam/Raisa Schoon before losing to Brazil pairs in both the semifinal and bronze medal match. It was Hughes/Kolinske’s second semifinal appearance of the year; they took gold at the Itapema Challenge in April.

Both Taryn Kloth/Kristen Nuss and Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner reached the quarterfinals after winning their main draw pools. In the first Elite 16 tournament of their careers, Kloth/Nuss went 3-0 in pool play before losing to eventual silver medalists Barbara Seixas de Freitas/Carolina Solberg Salgado of Brazil. Schalk/Brunner went 2-1 in pool play, earning the pool’s top seed via tiebreaker. In the first playoff match, they lost to the eventual gold medalists, Italy’s Samuele Cottafava/Paolo Nicolai.

Both Kelly Cheng/Betsi Flint and Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil tied for ninth, exiting the tournament after pool play. Both pairs faced must-win matches against American duos: Cheng/Flint needed to beat Kloth/Nuss for a chance to advance, and Hughes/Kolinske won a match that decided second place in Pool D over Cannon/Sponcil.

Kloth/Nuss and Sponcil/Cannon reached the main draw by winning two qualification matches. Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb won one but fell in the qualifier’s second round.

Next week, Hughes/Kolinske, Schalk/Brunner, Cheng/Flint and Cannon/Sponcil will begin the Beach Volleyball World Championships, which run June 10-19 in Rome. Joining those four pairs are Emily Day/Emily Stockman and Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander.