Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil went farther than they ever have in an FIVB event as a team, losing Sunday to Brazilians Rebeccca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Silva in the championship match Sunday of the four-star Dela Beach Open in The Hague, Netherlands.
Claes, the former USC great, and Sponcil, headed into her last season as an All-American at UCLA, took bronze at the FIVB three-star in Qinzhou, China, and ninth at the four-star p1440 event in Las Vegas.
They lost 21-10, 21-18 to Cavalcanti and Silva, despite leading 18-16 in the second set. Conversely, the win is the Brazilians’ second gold medal together in nine outings, including gold in Qinzhou. They won $20,000 and got 800 FIVB points, while Claes and Sponcil split $16,000 and got 640 FIVB points.
In the bronze-medal match, defending-champions April Ross and Alix Klineman were defeated by Taru Lahti and Anniina Parkinnen of Finland 15-21, 21-13, 15-6 to finish fourth, splitting $8,000 and 560 points.
On the men’s side, Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia won gold over Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany 21-11, 21-18. The win is the pair’s first in three tries, after silver in Yangzhou and bronze in Las Vegas.
Russia also took bronze as Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov dashed the hopes of the hometown crowd, defeating Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 21-15, 21-18.
The tour now takes a bit of a break, as the next four-star FIVB events are a men’s-only event in Doha, March 12-16, and Xiamen April 24-28.