An exciting weekend of beach volleyball was topped off with some exciting semifinals and finals on Sunday at Atlantic Station in Midtown, Atlanta. The impressive setup in Atlanta featured 900 tons of sand brought in for the occasion.
In a bit of a surprise on the women’s side, a couple or rookies stole the show. On the men’s side, a couple of AVP veterans are back on the scene.
Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth ended up taking their first AVP Gold beach volleyball tournament, earning a thrilling 21-12, 19-21, 16-14 victory over 2021 U.S. Olympians and No. 2-seed Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes.
There hasn’t been rookie duo in their first main AVP event as pros that have ever won that event — until Nuss and Kloth. They are also the first pair to make it through qualifying and win an AVP main tournament since 2013.
Kloth and Nuss upset the No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7 seeded teams to reach the semifinals after just getting through qualifying. In the semifinals, Nuss and Kloth defeated sixth-seeded Terese Cannon and Molly Turner again, this time by 21-13, 19-21, 15-5 score.
They are on an impressive run as they have won their pro debut June 6 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, their second tournament July 9 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and their third consecutive tournament July 25 in Atlantic City. These were all AVPNext events.
This is all following a collegiate career where as student athletes they were named the college beach tandem of the year after going 36-0 at LSU, and only dropping just four sets the entire season.
The tandem went 8-0 in Atlanta and are now 65-2 since their senior year began — including 29-2 as pros.
The men’s Winner’s Bracket was up for grabs. It took a couple AVP vets to show that experience matters.
The win was Casey Patterson’s 16th AVP championship, the last in Hermosa Beach 2019 when he and Chase Budinger won, Budinger’s first.
The pair split in 2020, each playing with different partners.
This reunion yielded a championship as Patterson and Budinger’s only loss was to Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb in the second round, coming through the contenders bracket.
Patterson-Budinger scored 38 kills to 31 by Schalk-Brunner, outdug them 20-16, but were out-blocked 6-1 and out-served three aces to one. The pair kept building momentum throughout the week.
Both teams move on to the next stop. The AVP event on August 20-22 in Manhattan Beach, California.