International Volleyball

Kristen Nuss’ “weird feeling” proves prophetic in huge win over Ana Patricia and Duda

Kristen Nuss' "weird feeling" proves prophetic in huge win over Ana Patricia and Duda

Taryn Kloth knuckles deep against Brazil/Volleyball World photo

Kristen Nuss isn’t entirely sure what came over her, or why. But on the bus ride over from the hotel to the site of the Espinho Elite16 on Saturday afternoon, she texted her mother, Audrey.

“Today’s the day,” she wrote.

Today’s the day Nuss and Taryn Kloth would finally, finally, finally beat Ana Patricia Silva and Duda Lisboa.

The world No. 1 had beaten Nuss and Kloth in all nine previous meetings, the most recent a 21-17, 21-14 display of the Brazilians’ might in the gold-medal match of the Brasilia Elite16 just three weeks prior. What reason did Nuss have for thinking Saturday, May 25, of all the random days on the beach calendar, was the day?

“Had a weird feeling,” she explained.

That weird feeling was spot on, as fifth-seeded Nuss and Kloth alas exorcised their Brazilian demons, sweeping top-seeded Ana Patricia and Duda 21-17, 21-15, continuing a run of sensational play that has had them in back-to-back finals, first in Brasilia, then last week at AVP Huntington Beach.

“I think we just went out and executed for two full sets and made some key plays here and there which has not been the case in the past,” Nuss said.

Indeed, five of the now-10 matchups between the worlds No. 1 and 2 have gone the full three sets, an indicator, by any measure, that despite the lopsided overall results, Nuss and Kloth were very much on par with Brazil’s finest.

What makes Saturday’s quarterfinal win that much sweeter is the sustained upward trajectory that Nuss and Kloth have been on since a slowish start to the year. Consecutive ninths in Elite16s in Doha and Tepic in which they lost six of eight matches have since paved the way to a 13-3 record in the next three tournaments and a shot at three straight finals.

“To be honest, we have been happy with our game on the court this entire season,” said Nuss, who was voted the 2023 Defender of the Year on both the AVP and Beach Pro Tour. “At the beginning, the results weren’t necessarily in our favor but we were still improving on the court. I don’t think people understand the level of play that is happening at these Elite16 events.”

It hardly gets easier from here. Even with the top-ranked Ana Patricia and Duda out of the way, Nuss and Kloth will play the fourth-seeded Olympians Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands in Sunday’s semifinals. Stam and Schoon have now made three straight semifinals on the Beach Pro Tour and have…

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