Now partners, U.S. Beach National Team members Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil were rivals in college.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (May 6, 2021) – The 2021 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship begins Thursday, May 7, and several U.S. Beach National Team players have ties to the programs that’ll compete for a title in Gulf Shores, Alabama.


Sarah Sponcil led the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018-19, her only two years with the program. She also earned All-American honors twice; Honorable Mention in 2018, and First Team in 2019.

Beach Talent Protection Pipeline athlete Kelly Reeves played beach for UCLA 2012-13, the program’s first two years in existence. As a senior in 2013, she became the school’s first AVCA Beach All-American.

Southern California

Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes were a force with the Trojans from 2014-17, guiding the team to national titles in 2016 and 2017. They ended their time at USC with a 147-4 record when playing with each other, including an undefeated 2016 season. Claes earned All-American designation three years, and Hughes did so all four.

Beach Talent Protection Pipeline athlete Terese Cannon also competed for USC beach volleyball, transferring in time to join the 2016 and 2017 championship squads. In fact, Cannon scored the kill that clinched the 2017 title.

Loyola Marymount (California)

Betsi Flint (née Metter) played for LMU from 2012-15. She twice earned All-American honors and twice reached the Final Four in the AVCA Sand Championships, playing in the title match as a senior with then-teammate Sponcil (who spent the first three seasons of her collegiate career with the Lions). Flint went onto serve as assistant coach at LMU from 2016-20.

With the Lions, Sponcil also earned All-American honors in 2015 due to her and Flint’s success. In 2017, Sponcil earned West Coast Conference Player of the Year.


Lauren Fendrick has served as a volunteer coach with Stanford since 2016. The 2016 Olympian helped guide the Cardinal to its first-ever NCAA berth this season.

Cal Poly

Beach Talent Protection Pipeline athlete Crissy Jones played one year of beach volleyball at Cal Poly. That year, 2019, she earned AVCA Beach All-American and, with partner Tia Miric, earned Big West Pairs Team of the Year. In 2020, Jones served as assistant coach for the Mustangs.

Coaching Cal Poly since 2016 is Todd Rogers, two-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist. Rogers has guided the Mustangs to Big West titles and NCAA berths in both 2019 and 2021.

The U.S. Beach National Team is back in action May 20 at a 1-Star event on the FIVB World Tour in Sofia, Bulgaria.