Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Megan Kraft/Delaynie Maple Win U19 World Championship

They started in the qualifier. Now, they top the podium.

Megan Kraft/Delaynie Maple of the U.S. Beach U19 National Team dominated the U19 World Championship, securing a victory in Phuket, Thailand. In a thrilling match, they swept Olga Gavrilova/Alina Salmanova of Russia 2-0 (21-12, 21-17) to cap an unbeaten run.

“It’s hard to put into words how cool [being a world champion] feels,” Maple said. “It’s surreal right now. It’s very awesome to get to do this for our country.”

Stellar Performance Leads to Victory

Before their outstanding performance in the main draw, Kraft/Maple had to go through a grueling qualification process. They had to beat a Spanish team in a qualification match just to secure a spot in the pool play, where they were seeded 27th.

Undeterred, Kraft/Maple showcased their prowess by winning their pool with a perfect 3-0 record. Their exceptional performance earned them a bye to the Round of 16, where they faced and defeated a skilled Dutch team. In the quarterfinals, they secured another 2-0 win, setting the stage for an all-American semifinal against their U19 National Team teammates, Xolani Hodel/Kate Reilly. Despite a valiant effort from Hodel/Reilly, Kraft/Maple triumphed and advanced to the gold medal match, which they won handily.

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American Dominance at the U19 World Championship

This victory marks the second U19 beach title for the United States, following the win by Jane Croson/Summer Ross in 2010. Additionally, the U.S. showcased its strength as Hodel/Reilly put up a tough fight in the bronze medal match against Ukraine’s Anhelina Khmil/Tetiana Lazarenko. Although Hodel/Reilly narrowly missed out on a podium finish, their fourth-place achievement marked the first time that two American women’s pairs finished fourth in the same U19 championship.

“I’m proud of their growth throughout this tournament,” said Jose Loiola, Hodel/Reilly’s coach. “We lost to a tough team, but they gave it their all.”

United Team Effort

The success of Kraft/Maple cannot be attributed solely to their skills but also to the support of their coaches, team leader Gabby Garbato, and their teammates and staff. Dylan Zacca/Adam Hartmann reached the Round of 24, and Gage Basey/Thomas Hurst competed in the qualifier, all contributing to the overall success of the U.S. Beach U19 National Team.

“We couldn’t have done it without our coaches and Gabby and all our teammates and staff,” Maple expressed her gratitude. “Big thank you to them. We’re just really happy and blessed.”


Q: How many teams represented the United States at the U19 World Championships?
A: The United States was represented by three teams at the U19 World Championships: Megan Kraft/Delaynie Maple, Dylan Zacca/Adam Hartmann, and Gage Basey/Thomas Hurst.

Q: What is the next competition for the U.S. Beach National Team?
A: The U21 squad of the U.S. Beach National Team is set to compete in the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships, which will be held from December 14th to 19th in Phuket, Thailand.

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The victory of Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple at the U19 World Championship is a testament to their skill, determination, and teamwork. Their unbeaten run and dominant performance have earned them the title of world champions. The U.S. Beach U19 National Team’s success is a source of pride for their country and a reflection of the strength and talent within American beach volleyball. As they return stateside, the U21 squad continues to carry the flag in the upcoming FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships. Congratulations to Megan Kraft, Delaynie Maple, and the entire U.S. Beach U19 National Team on their remarkable achievement.

Championship Celebration