The potential for the silver medal that Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn won on a July Sunday evening in Espinho, Portugal, was displayed on a March Friday morning in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

In Mexico, for the season-opening event under Volleyball World’s new Beach Pro Tour system, Quiggle and Schermerhorn, after qualifying by sweeping a pair of Japanese teams, upset top-seeded Sarah Sponcil and Terese Cannon and 13th-seeded Hegeile Almeida and Taina Lima.

Sponcil and Cannon have since won a bronze medal at the Kusadasi Challenger and claimed their first AVP title in Hermosa Beach just two weeks ago. Hegeile and Taina have taken five top-10s on the Beach Pro Tour and are currently the sixth-ranked team in the world.

Quiggle and Schermerhorn had every bit of that potential in them. On July 17 in Espinho, for Quiggle and Schermerhorn’s sixth international event of the season, that potential was realized, as the two won their first medal of the season, falling in the finals to Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, 21-19, 19-21, 12-15.

“I’m just so freakin’ proud of the way we battled,” Schermerhorn said. “I had so much fun being out on the court with Corinne. She balled out all weekend long.”

Corinne Quiggle-Sarah Schermerhorn-Espinho Challenger
Sarah Schermerhorn sets Corinne Quiggle in the finals of the Espinho Challenger/Volleyball World photo

And they did have a long weekend in Portugal. They dropped their first match to Emily Day and Savvy Simo, 15-21, 18-21, and kind of, sort of, broke pool with a 21-18, 21-16 win over China’s Meimei Lin and Xinyi Xia. All that win did, however, was earn them a spot in a lucky loser match with Norway’s Sunniva Helland-Hansen — a Stetson alum — and Emilie Olimstad, which they won, narrowly, 27-29, 21-18, 15-9.

And all those wins did was earn them a berth against an Olympian in the Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova. Another tight win — 21-19, 22-20 — paved the way for a pair of sweeps against Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger and Isabel Schneider and Spain’s Sofia Gonzalez and Paula Soria.

Five straight victories, then, was what it took to punch their ticket into their first gold medal match as a team, against one of the hottest pairs on Tour in Artacho and Clancy, who were coming off a bronze in the Gstaad Elite 16 and are the No. 4 ranked team in the world. The silver marks Quiggle and Schermerhorn’s first medal as a team, and certainly the biggest of either of their individual careers.

“Sarah was unbelievable this weekend,” Quiggle said. “A defender’s dream. I’m really proud that we were able to bring home a medal, always hungry for that gold but so proud of what we accomplished.”

The medal vaults Quiggle and Schermerhorn up to No. 22 in the World Rankings, where they are now the third-ranked American team, behind Kelley Kolinske and Sara Hughes (13), and Cannon and Sponcil (16). Quietly climbing the ranks is the new team of Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft, who finished ninth in Espinho after losing to Clancy and Artacho, who went on to knock out yet another American team in Simo and Day, who finished fifth. Bronze was won by Brazilians Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria de Souza.

Corinne Quiggle-SArah Schermerhorn-Espinho Challenger
Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn play against Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy of Australia in the Espinho Challenger (Photo/Volleyball World)

On the men’s side, Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl won their third event of the year, defeating Austrians Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz for gold. Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins claimed bronze, beating Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol. Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, and Andy Benesh and Miles Evans, both finished ninth, while Taylor Crabb and Taylor Sander failed to break pool, taking 19th. Evan Cory and Bill Kolinske lost in the final round of the qualifier to Crabb and Sander and finished 25th.

Next up on the Beach Pro Tour is a Challenger in Agadir, Morocco, which will feature Cory and Kolinsjke, Evans and Benesh, Stockman and Kraft, Quiggle and Schermerhorn, Simo and Victoria Dennis, and Jade Race and Makenzie Griffin.

Molly Turner, Maddie Anderson win gold in Ciro Futures

A quick flight from Espinho would land you in Ciro, Italy, where a Volleyball World Futures event was taking place. Molly Turner and Florida State court one split-blocker Maddie Anderson, playing in their first event together, not only qualified — they won gold, defeating Estonia’s Heleene Hollas and Liisa Soomets in the finals, 21-11, 21-18. It’s the second medal of the season for Turner, who won bronze in Lithuania earlier this season with Jess Gaffney, although it is the first gold of her promising career. Given that it’s Anderson’s first international event of her career, it’s also her first international medal.

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