Youngest-ever U.S. beach volleyball team dominates second prelim match

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 28, 2021

Kelly Claes, 25, and Sarah Sponcil, 24 -- the youngest U.S. beach volleyball pair ever -- dominated the Kenyan duo Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Khadambi in their second preliminary victory, 21-8, 21-6.  

The Americans were on fire out of the gate, up 14-4 in the first before a timeout was called. At that point, Claes and Sponcil had scored 8 of the last 9 points. Team USA finished out the first set 21-8.

Set 2 was more of the same: Claes and Sponcil held a ten-point lead by 15-5, and closed out the match 21-6. The match lasted just under half an hour; in that time, Sponcil hit five aces. 

Claes and Sponcil, in Pool D, previously won their opening match in three sets.


SEE MORE: Claes/Sponcil defeat Latvia in Olympic debut

Though neither Claes nor Sponcil has played at a previous Olympics, their country has historically performed very well. At the Rio 2016 Games, three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings teamed with April Ross to win Rio bronze in her fourth Games. Walsh Jennings did not make an appearance in Tokyo, but Ross is currently at the top of Pool B alongside her new partner, Alex Klineman

With playing like this, it could be an all-American final in Tokyo. Next, Claes and Sponcil will compete against Brazil on Saturday.

SEE MORE: Rio 2016: Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross take bronze