Ulsan, Korea, July 22, 2017 – Third-seeded Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen are the champions of the women-only one-star Ulsan stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017. The two Americans, both born in 1992, upset the top seed in the main draw Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee from Thailand with a straight-set win in the grand final at Jinha Beach on Korea’s eastern coast.
The bronze medals went to seventh-seeded Shaunna Marie Polley and Kelsie Wills from New Zealand, who also shut out a Thai team, fifth-seeded Rumpaipruet Numwong and Khanittha Hongpak, in the third place match.
Action from the final match between USA and Thailand
For USA’s Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen, this was the second appearance on the Tour in 2017 and also their second medal from their six participations overall. The first one was also gold, from the Jiangning, Nanjing two-star event. For Radarong and Udomchavee this is also their second medal on the World Tour, after claiming another Korean silver a week ago at the Daegu one-star tournament. For Polley and Wills, both born in 1993, this was the first ever international podium finish.
USA’s duo claimed the gold medals after a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) victory, hammered out in 30 minutes of play in Saturday’s final. The Americans took a wide lead early in the first set and stayed well in control through the end, when Betsi Flint’s block-out shot finished it off at 21-16. The second set was a very tight affair through 7-7. After that, Flint and Larsen started piling up an advantage. After 18-12, with a smart tip, followed by an ace, Larsen brought her team to match point. Two rallies down the road the Americans were celebrating with a 21-13 close and a golden victory.
The bronze medal match was somewhat more competitive and took 35 minutes to complete. Still, Pollie and Wills finished the job in two sets – 2-0 (21-17, 21-18). In the first set the New Zealanders opened up a six-point-wide gap. Their Thai opponents fought back to narrow it down to a point at 15-16, but in the end Pollie spiked successfully for 21-17. At the beginning of the second set, Numwong and Hongpak managed to break away in the score. Pollie and Wills caught up at 11-11 to prompt a tough battle through 18-18. In the conclusive moments, Wills scored three in a row – a spike, a block and an ace – to close the match and secure the bronze medals for her team.