Brunner-Schalk come up short at Worlds, Kraft-Simo win Volleyball World gold in Turkey | Volleyballmag.com

It was a tough Sunday for North Americans as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome came to a close.

Americans Theo Brunner and Chaim Schalk lost in the bronze-medal match to Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderly 15-21, 21-17, 15-11 but still took home $28,000 for their 10 days in Italy. 

In the women’s gold-medal match, former USC standout Sophie Bukovec and her Canadian partner, Olympian Brandie Wilkerson, lost to second-seeded Brazilians Duda Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva 21-17, 21-19.  The winners took home $60,000 and the Canadians $45,000.

Another USC player won Sunday in an all-USA final. 

Megan Kraft, who will be a junior for the NCAA champions, and former UCLA standout Savvy Simo beat two former Florida State Seminoles for gold at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures in Balikesir, Turkey. 

Kraft and Simo beat Brook Bauer and Katie Horton 21-17, 21-12, and took home 1,000 Euros. Bauer and Horton split 700 Euros. It was the first pro international medals for all four.

Megan Kraft, left, and Savvy Simo after winning in Balikesir, Turkey

In the Worlds men’s final, Olympic gold-medalists Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway overpowered Brazilians Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima 21-15, 21-16. The Norwegians took home $60,000 and the Brazilians $45,000. Loyola and Wanderly split $35,000.

It was the first Worlds title for Mol and Sorum. According to Volleyball World, “The World Championship trophy was the last to be added to their collection and made of the 26-year-old Sorum and the 24-year-old Mol the youngest team to simultaneously hold the Olympic and world titles, joining a list that includes Brazil’s Jackie Silva/Sandra Pires, Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt, USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/Misty May-Treanor and Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst.”

“We want to win as many titles as possible,” Mol told Volleyball World. “Our dream as a team is to win titles and also to make more people play this wonderful sport. We love beach volleyball so much and I just hope everyone can see how much fun we have on the court. It’s a great sport, it’s a great family and we want to help the sport grow and reach the potential it has.”

“I’m yet to win the Norwegian Championship, so there’s still that one missing,” Sorum joked. “This has been our dream for so long. And to do it in front of so many people at the Foro Italico and to have our families and friends with us … Our team has been working so hard for so many years. I still get goosebumps when I remember the 2009 World Championship, which I watched in Stavanger, and now we are world champions.”

The women’s title was won by Brazil for the first time since 2015.

“I’m so happy that I’m out of words to describe my feelings,” Duda told Volleyball World. “It’s really a dream come true. I’m just so happy with the result of our work. We were able to put everything we trained into work and every match was better than the previous one. I have to thank my partner, our team, our sponsors and family members because we wouldn’t have done it without them.
“It was different at the Youth Olympics (which they won in 2014). We were both very young, didn’t have much of an idea of how big that was, and we were just having fun. It’s been very special being together again now, after so many years. We keep looking back and talking about some moments we experienced together in the past and even though we’re a in a different moment in our lives now, we continue to have a lot of fun on the court. We love playing together.”

In the women’s third-place match, Germans Svenja Muller and Cinja Tillman got the win when the Swiss pair of Olympic bronze-medalists Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich had to forfeit. The Swiss won the first set 21-16 and led in the second 10-7 when Heidrich hurt her should serving.

The next Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event is July 6-10 in Gstaad, Switzerland. The next Challenge event is July 14-17 in Espinho, Portugal. And the next Futures stop is this week in Bialystok, Poland.

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