Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Kolinske/Hughes Win Gold, Benesh/Evans Silver During Two-Medal Weekend

Easter Weekend proved to be a momentous occasion for the U.S. Beach National Team as two American duos secured medals on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. Kelley Kolinske/Sara Hughes emerged victorious at the Itapema Challenge in Itapema, Brazil, while Andy Benesh/Miles Evans claimed the silver at the Songkhla (Thailand) Futures.

Kolinske/Hughes – A Dominant Performance in Brazil

In Brazil, Kolinske/Hughes showcased their brilliance by going undefeated throughout the week and clinching the gold medal with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) victory over the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam. This triumph marked their first tournament win since teaming up and solidified their growing synergy on the court.

“We fought so hard, and we’re thrilled to bring the gold home,” Kolinske exclaimed in an interview with Beach Volleyball World. “We know we can compete with any team globally, and I am confident that we can win multiple medals this season.”

This victory propelled Kolinske/Hughes to 26th place in the FIVB World Rankings, a testament to their remarkable progress on the international stage.

Benesh/Evans – A Historic Achievement in Thailand

Meanwhile, Benesh/Evans made history by securing the United States’ first men’s medal of the season in Songkhla, Thailand. After triumphing in the qualification round, they dominated their pool with two consecutive 2-0 victories. In the quarter- and semifinals, they displayed their tenacity, winning both matches in three sets, including a hard-fought battle against Surin Jongklang/Banlue Nakprakhong of Thailand with a score of 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 21-19).

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Although they fell short in the gold medal match against Italians Carlo Bonifazi/Davide Benzi, losing the first set 27-25 and the second 21-19, Benesh/Evans showcased their resilience and competitive spirit.

“Lost a tough one in the finals to a talented Italian team, but proud of the way we fought despite the challenging conditions,” Benesh shared in an Instagram post. “Great playing all tournament, Miles Evans!”

This remarkable achievement marked Benesh’s first Beach Pro Tour medal in his four-tournament career, while Evans added another medal to his impressive tally of one gold, three silver, and one bronze.

U.S. Representation at Itapema and Songkhla

Apart from the winning duos, several other U.S. pairs participated in the main draws of the Itapema Challenge and Songkhla Futures. Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner secured a commendable fifth-place tie, while Taryn Kloth/Kristen Nuss and Lauren Fendrick/Emily Stockman tied for ninth. Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil finished in 17th place.

Additionally, Zana Muno/Toni Rodriguez, Tambre Nobles/Melissa Powell, and Chase Budinger/Troy Field competed in the qualifier rounds of the Itapema Challenge, showcasing the depth of U.S. representation.

Cody Caldwell/Adam Roberts also navigated through the Songkhla qualifier, although they were eliminated during the pool play in the main draw.

FAQs

Q: How did Kelley Kolinske and Sara Hughes perform at the Itapema Challenge?

A: Kolinske/Hughes had a remarkable performance, winning all six matches and claiming the gold medal by defeating Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam from the Netherlands in straight sets.

Q: What was the result for Andy Benesh and Miles Evans at the Songkhla Futures?

A: Benesh/Evans secured the silver medal at the Songkhla Futures, marking the United States’ first men’s medal of the international season.

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Summary

Easter Weekend brought immense success for the U.S. Beach National Team as Kelley Kolinske/Sara Hughes emerged victorious at the Itapema Challenge, while Andy Benesh/Miles Evans secured the silver at the Songkhla Futures. Kolinske/Hughes showcased their dominance in Brazil, going undefeated and claiming their first tournament win as a duo. Benesh/Evans made history in Thailand, securing the first men’s medal of the season for the United States. These remarkable achievements highlight the skill and determination of these athletes on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour.

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