There’s a pink bracelet that dangles around the left wrist of Kristen Nuss. Inscribed in it is a single word:
Such is the maxim of Nuss and Taryn Kloth. It’s the word that has been the bedrock of their partnership since they began playing together during those strange COVID times, hunting down any local tournament they could.
Once told by anyone asked, and many who weren’t, that, because of the points system, and the fact that they had none, they’d need to split up in order to compete on the Beach Pro Tour. But they trusted that if they stuck together it would all work out in the end. After the Tokyo Olympic Games, when both defender and blocker received calls from other players around the country, asking them to switch partners, they trusted in their team. Unicorns in Louisiana in an almost exclusively California sport, they trusted in their location, in their coach, Drew Hamilton, in their vision and what they are so uniquely creating, a world-class team in the Bayou.
How’s it working out for them, that trust?
Another gold medal dangling around their necks, their second of this young 2023 season.
“It’s just trust our team, trust our training,” Nuss said after a 16-21, 24-22, 15-13 gold-medal match win over Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy. “We play back in Louisiana in this heat, the humidity, we felt like we were back at home in practice. That was exactly what I was thinking: Trust in Taryn, trust in our team.”
At the Volleyball World Uberlandia Elite16 in Brazil, they trusted in spite of a flat opener, an 18-21, 17-21 dud against Brazil’s Ana Patricia Silva and Duda Lisboa. Trusted in the work they have continued putting in on their own in Louisiana. Trusted in their practice partners. While their rivals in California are training against the top teams in the country, Nuss and Kloth have faith that a pair of teenagers named Ava and Anna Koehl are still the best ones to prep them against Olympic gold medalists and World Champions. There is no arguing the results.
Nuss and Kloth rallied for five consecutive sweeps in Uberlandia, including dominant performances over Americans Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles (21-13, 21-12), Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil (21-14, 21-11) and Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng (21-17, 21-11).
Their semifinal victory over Hughes and Cheng — who would eventually…
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