Monday, 22 Apr 2024

All Four U.S. Beach Pairs Advance

Claes/Sponcil Outlast Brazil to Win Pool

TOKYO (July 31, 2021) – Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil achieved their first objective at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Saturday when they clinched a pool title via a 2-1 victory (17-21, 21-19, 15-11) over Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Silva of Brazil at Shiokaze Park.

“It was really tiring. They’re such a good team,” Sponcil said. “We did a good job taking it point by point. We really just stuck in the moment and got some really good defensive plays in the end. We came out really strong in the third, which is what we needed to do against a team like that.


With the win, Claes/Sponcil clinched first place in Pool D and the No. 4 seed in the playoff bracket. They’ll learn their opponent for their first knockout match, the Round of 16, later Saturday.

The teams split the first two sets. Ana Patricia/Rebecca took the first 17-21, and Claes/Sponcil countered at 21-19 in the second. In the third, the Americans raced out to a 3-0 lead after a pair of Brazilian errors and a block from Claes. Ana Patricia/Rebecca called a timeout and earned a sideout on the next point, but Claes/Sponcil again went on a 3-0 run. Three points later, they enjoyed an 8-2 lead, capping the best 10-point stretch by either team all match.

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Brazil rallied, pulling within three points at 8-5. From there, the teams traded sideouts until Claes/Sponcil led 14-11. Rebecca then missed a service opportunity, confirming the U.S. win.

“I think it was more of a mental match,” Claes said. “We knew they were gonna get their points, they’re such a great team. It’s about being patient and waiting for the opportunities we can create and taking advantage of those.”

Brazil led the two sides in attack points (34-29) and blocks (6-3). Both teams served up three aces apiece, and the U.S. committed just eight errors opposed to Brazil’s 18. Claes scored 20 points herself, 17 on the attack and three at the net. Sponcil added 15: 12 attack points and three service aces.

Claes and Sponcil are the fourth American duo to advance to the Round of 16. Alix Klineman/April Ross won their pool as well, Jake Gibb/Tri Bourne finished second in theirs, and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena took third. Dalhausser/Lucena advance to the playoff bracket automatically by being one of the top two third-place finishers with five points (two wins and one loss).


  • Q: How did Claes/Sponcil secure their pool title?
    A: They secured their pool title with a 2-1 victory over Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Silva of Brazil.

  • Q: What is the next step for Claes/Sponcil?
    A: The next step for Claes/Sponcil is the Round of 16, where they will face their first knockout match.

  • Q: How did the Americans perform in the match against Brazil?
    A: The Americans performed well, capitalizing on their defensive plays and strong performance in the third set.

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Claes/Sponcil’s victory over Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Silva of Brazil secured their first-place finish in Pool D and the No. 4 seed in the playoff bracket. They showed resilience and strong teamwork throughout the match. With their impressive performance, they join three other American duos in advancing to the Round of 16. The future looks promising for Claes/Sponcil as they continue their journey in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

For more exciting updates on Claes/Sponcil and their Olympic journey, visit Alpinetgheep.