BPT Elite 16 Torquay Women - GERvsUSA-17

Julia Scoles spikes against Julia Sude

Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles were the first women’s team to book a spot among the quarterfinalists at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Torquay on Wednesday.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Torquay live on Volleyball TV.

The fifth-seeded American pair achieved two straight-set victories in Pool D and can no longer be pushed out of the top two places in the final pool standings. Flint and Scoles started their day with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) shutout of Slovenian qualifiers Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin. Then they met fourth-seeded Isabel Schneider and Julia Sude of Germany, who had also claimed a straight-set win, 2-0 (21-11, 21-15), over Australia’s Alisha Stevens and Nicole Laird. A nip-and-tuck battle unfolded on the court as both sets were decided by the narrowest of margins, both in favour of Flint and Scoles – 2-0 (21-19, 22-20).

The Slovenians also defeated the Australians on Wednesday, so when they go head to head with the Germans on Thursday it will be a direct duel to stay in the tournament.

Sude & Schneider vs Flint & Scoles 0-2 (19-21, 20-22) match highlights

Two legs of matches were played in Pool B on Wednesday too, but no team has qualified for the playoffs yet and all four are still in mathematical contention. Last week’s Challenge winners Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng, however, are within reach of the quarterfinals with two straight-set victories over Chinese opponents. The second-seeded Americans delivered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) sweep of Zeng Jinjin and Wang Xinxin and a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) win over Xia Xinyi and Lin MeiMei. In that last match, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Cheng, Betsi Flint’s previous partner, mercilessly scored 26 points, including four blocks and two aces.

The two Chinese teams also played against qualifiers Georgia Johnson and Jasmine Fleming, before facing each other on Thursday. Xia and Lin celebrated with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) victory, but the Australians defeated Zeng and Wang by 2-0 (22-20, 21-12).

PT Elite 16 Torquay Women - USAvsCHN-17

Kelly Cheng sets the ball

A couple of three-setters shook down Pool C. 11th-seeded Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann of New Zealand produced a 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 19-17) upset of third-seeded Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss of the United States after an extended tie-breaker, with Polley firing as many as 32 points, including three aces. While not suggested by their seeding, last week’s Challenge silver may have turned China’s Yuan Lvwen and Dong Jie into the favourites against Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee and Taravadee Naraphornrapat, but the sixth-seeded Thai team denied their efforts with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 15-13) comeback victory, also thanks to their seven aces in the match, five of which were produced by Worapeerachayakorn.

Nuss & Kloth vs Zeimann & Polley 1-2 (18-21, 21-18, 17-19) match highlights

There were no surprises in Pool A, perhaps with the exception of Polish qualifiers Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Wachowicz taking a set from Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft. After losing the second set in overtime, the Americans got their winning ways back to claim a 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 15-12) victory, while top seeds and favourites Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia had few issues on the way to a 2-0 (21-16, 21-12) shutout of Japan’s Akiko Hasegawa and Yurika Sakaguchi.

Another 12 games will complete the pool stage of the women’s main draw in Torquay on Thursday and determine the remaining seven quarterfinalists.