Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

One Medal, Two Semifinalists Along Baltic for BNT

Colorado Springs, Colo. – U.S. beach pair Jessica Gaffney and Molly Turner achieved a remarkable bronze medal win at the Beach Pro Tour’s Klaipeda Futures. This event took place alongside another international tournament along Eastern Europe’s Baltic Sea. Let’s explore the highlights of their journey and their impressive performance.

Klaipeda (Lithuania) Futures

Gaffney and Turner began their quest on Sunday with a challenging semifinal match against Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene and Erika Kilokmanaite. Despite a valiant effort, the hometown pair emerged victorious and secured their spot in the gold medal match. However, Gaffney and Turner displayed their tenacity and bounced back with a brilliant 2-0 win (22-20, 21-19) over Estonia’s Heleene Hollas and Liisa Soomets, claiming the bronze medal.

This achievement is particularly significant for Gaffney as it marks her first-ever career medal. On the other hand, Turner added another remarkable feat to her resume, bringing her total international medal count to three.

Their journey to the Klaipeda main draw began with a victory over fellow Americans Jade Race and Tiffany Cramer in the qualifier. In the pool play, they secured a 1-1 record and faced an additional elimination match in the Round of 12. Undeterred by the challenge, Gaffney and Turner delivered a captivating three-set win against a pair from Germany, propelling them to the quarterfinals. Their excellent performance continued, leading them to secure a two-set victory and ultimately reach the semifinals.

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Melissa Fuchs Powell and Tambre Nobles also participated in the Klaipeda qualifier, showcasing the depth of talent from the U.S. contingent.

Jurmala (Latvia) Elite 16

In a tournament that took place three and a half hours northeast of Klaipeda, six U.S. pairs competed at the Jurmala Elite 16. Half of these pairs reached the playoffs, showcasing the strength of the American presence in the competition.

Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske showcased their skills and secured a commendable fourth-place finish. They emerged victorious in their quarterfinal match against world No. 1 pair Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon before facing tough battles against formidable Brazilian opponents in both the semifinals and the bronze medal match. This marked Hughes and Kolinske’s second semifinal appearance this year, previously taking home the gold at the Itapema Challenge in April.

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, as well as Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner, demonstrated their talent and determination by reaching the quarterfinals. In their first Elite 16 tournament, Kloth and Nuss displayed their prowess by securing a flawless 3-0 record in the pool play. Unfortunately, they met their match against eventual silver medalists Barbara Seixas de Freitas and Carolina Solberg Salgado from Brazil. Schalk and Brunner also showcased their skills with a solid 2-1 pool play record which earned them the top seed in their pool. In the playoff match, they faced the eventual gold medalists, Italy’s Samuele Cottafava and Paolo Nicolai.

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Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint, as well as Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil, tied for ninth place after exiting the tournament in the pool play stage. Both pairs faced crucial matches against their fellow Americans: Cheng and Flint needed a win against Kloth and Nuss for a chance to advance, while Hughes and Kolinske triumphed in a match that decided second place in Pool D over Cannon and Sponcil.

Kloth and Nuss, along with Sponcil and Cannon, reached the main draw by winning two qualification matches. Unfortunately, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb won one match but fell short in the qualifier’s second round.


Q: What are the Beach Volleyball World Championships?
A: The Beach Volleyball World Championships is an upcoming event that will take place from June 10-19 in Rome. It will feature top athletes from around the world, including Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske, Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner, Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint, and Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil. Joining them will be Emily Day and Emily Stockman, as well as Taylor Crabb and Taylor Sander.

Q: What is the significance of the bronze medal win for Jessica Gaffney and Molly Turner?
A: The bronze medal win at the Klaipeda Futures is a major achievement for Jessica Gaffney as it marks her first-ever career medal. For Molly Turner, it adds to her impressive tally, bringing her total international medals to three.


Jessica Gaffney and Molly Turner showcased their skills and determination at the Beach Pro Tour’s Klaipeda Futures. Winning the bronze medal, they demonstrated their ability to compete against top international teams. Additionally, U.S. pairs such as Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske, Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, and Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner exhibited their talent and made significant progress in the Jurmala Elite 16 tournament. These achievements highlight the strength and skill of American beach volleyball athletes. As they prepare for the upcoming Beach Volleyball World Championships, we eagerly anticipate their performances and wish them the best of luck.

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