Big Sunday for USA as three American pairs win FIVB gold medals

FIVB Leuven Rubavu 7/18/2021-Emily Day-Sara Hughes
Emily Day, right, and Sara Hughes celebrate a point Sunday while winning in Rwanda/FIVB photo

Emily Day and Sara Hughes and Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner won gold at the two-star FIVB in Rubavu, Rwanda, on what turned out to be a big Sunday for USA teams on the FIVB pro beach circuit.

While they were winning in Africa, Americans Crissy Jones and Susannah Muno were taking FIVB one-star gold in Leuven, Belgium.

It was the first FIVB victory for Schalk, Brunner, Jones and Muno.

In Rwanda, third-seeded Day and Hughes won their semifinal match Sunday over Germany’s Svenja Muller and Sarah Schneider, the No. 14 seed, 21-16, 21-18. Then they had to go the distance and more to beat top-seeded Laboureur and Schulz 19-21, 21-13, 16-14. Day and Hughes split $4,000 for their efforts.

It was the second FIVB victory of Day’s career after winning in an event in China with Betsi Flint in 2018. Hughes won an FIVB title for the third time, the last in Cambodia in 2020 with Lauren Fendrick.

Second-seeded Schalk and Brunner won an all-American men’s final as they beat Chase Budinger and Troy Field 25-23, 21-15. Budinger and Field came out of the qualifier and were seeded 21st. The winners got $4,000, while Budinger and Field got $3,000.

In the semifinals, Brunner and Schalk beat Russians Anton Kislystyn and Daniil Kuvichka 21-19, 21-15, while Budinger and Field defeated Russians Maksim Hudyakov and Aleksandr Kramarenko 21-15, 21-19.

Jones and Muno, who came out of the qualifier and were seeded 12th, split $1,000 for their victory in Belgium. In the semifinals they beat Belgians Sarah Cools and Lisa Van Den Vonder 21-13, 21-18.

In the championship match, Jones and Muno scored a 17-21, 21-11, 18-16 comeback victory over 11th-seeded Chenoa Christ and Anna-Lena Grune of Germany.

In the men’s final in Leuven, top-seeded Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium beat 10th-seeded Tom Altwies and Arnaud Loiseau of France 20-22, 21-18, 15-13.

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