The USA was so close to taking over the entire women’s podium Saturday at the Volleyball World Torquay Elite 16 in Australia.
In the gold-medal match, the new partnership of Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes continued to be a success as the Americans beat compatriots Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles 21-17, 21-11. Cheng and Hughes were record-setting partners at USC, where Scoles just came off back-to-back national titles. And Flint was Cheng’s partner until two months ago.
Cheng and Hughes, who won AVP Huntington Beach together three weeks ago and the Volleyball World Challenge in Torquay last week, took home $30,000. Scoles and Flint made $20,000.
In the bronze-medal match, the USA’s Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss lost to hometown heroes Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho 14-21, 21-19, 15-13.
The only other USA pair on the women’s side was Megan Kraft and Emily Stockman, who 1-2 in pool play and did not advance. Kraft is still a member of the two-time national-champion USC squad. Cheng and Hughes went 3-0 in pool play, beat a team from Thailand in the quarterfinals and beat Kloth and Nuss in the semifinals. Scoles and Flint went 3-0 in their pool, too, and beat a team from Poland in the quarters and Clancy-Artacho in the semis.
Paul Lotman and Miles Evans, the only USA men’s pair in the tournament, made a run that saw them lost in the bronze-medal match to Italians Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri 21-15, 21-16.
In the men’s gold-medal match, Australians Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert battled tough for the hometown country crowd but lost in the final to France’s Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat 22-20, 23-21.