|From third to left, Mackenzie Ponnet, Kimberly Smith, Kelly Reeves and Brittany Howard show off their medals in Mexico.|
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 15, 2018) – U.S. beach volleyball teams won medals of every color, led by Mackenzie Ponnet and Kimberly Smith who won gold, on Sunday at the NORCECA Circuit event in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Brittany Howard and Kelly Reeves of the United States won the women’s bronze medal while the men’s team of Troy Field and Reid Priddy took silver. The U.S. men’s team of Ed Ratledge and Eric Zaun finished fourth.
Ponnet and Smith, who were making their NORCECA Circuit debut, defeated Maylen Delis and Leila Martínez of Cuba 21-19, 17-21, 15-10 in the gold medal final. To get there, they had to defeat Reeves and Howard in the semis, 17-21, 21-19, 15-12.
“Mackenzie literally picks up everything up behind me,” Smith said in a NORCECA release. “All I have to do is turn around and give her a decent set and she puts it back in motion. She’s the best player I’ve ever played with. We have so much fun playing the game, that’s why we keep on winning.”
Ponnet added, “It’s pretty easy when you’ve got such a big, good block to run behind. Our chemistry just wins games. I have so much trust in Kim. The key is that we stay calm no matter what the score.”
In the men’s final, Field and Priddy, fell to Canadians Aaron Nusbaum and Mike Plantinga, 21-16, 21-15. In the semifinal, Field and Priddy beat Ratledge and Zaun, 21-17, 13-21, 15-10.
Ratledge and Zaun fell to Mexico’s Josué Gaxiola and José Angel Cardenas in the bronze medal match, 21-17, 21-18.
Priddy is a four-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist on the indoor side who has taken his game to the beach.
In the women’s bronze medal match, Reeves and Howard beat Mexico’s Zaira Orellana and Martha Revuelta, 21-9, 21-17.
All the U.S. teams won their pools, going 3-0 and advancing straight to the semifinals.
The NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit continues next weekend at La Paz, Baja California.