International Volleyball

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss win all-USA Gstaad Elite16 final

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss win all-USA Gstaad Elite16 final

Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth ring the cowbells/Volleyball World photo

GSTAAD, Switzerland — In the end, it was a look that decided the finals of the Gstaad Elite16 on Sunday afternoon. Kristen Nuss had two options in how she presented her body language to Taryn Kloth.

“It was either ‘Oh sh**’ or ‘You got this,’ ” Kloth said afterwards.

Why the oh sh** look? Nuss and Kloth were down 8-3 in the third set of the gold medal match to Cinderellas Terese Cannon and Megan Kraft, a pair who had barely scratched out of the qualifier, eked out of pool, and put on a scintillating run through the playoffs. Sitting comfortably on house money, Cannon and Kraft put the pressure square on the 6-foot-4 shoulders of Kloth. A 4-1 lead stretched further, to 8-3, behind excellent serving from both Kraft and Cannon and efficient transition play. Kloth was struggling or, to borrow her phrasing, “shanking everything.”

Nuss very well could have given her the oh sh** stink-eye and Kloth would have nodded and agreed.

The thought never crossed her mind.

“I never once doubted or had a lack of confidence in her of thought we couldn’t win,” Nuss said. “I trust her. I kept thinking back to our practices and we trust our defense.”

That trust, both in themselves and in their defense, sparked a 12-3 run to clinch the first Gstaad gold medals of their careers, capping off an undefeated week with a 19-21, 21-15, 15-11 win and their second consecutive gold medal on the Beach Pro Tour.

Taryn Kloth hits over Terese Cannon/Volleyball World photo

The gold in Gstaad is merely an extension of a brilliant run of play dating to the Tepic Elite16 in April. In Mexico, they finished ninth for the second straight tournament, and in two events at that point in the season they had won just two of eight matches. Since? They’ve won 17 of 19, making back-to-back-to-back finals, winning silver in Brasilia, gold in Espinho, and gold on Sunday in Gstaad.

“I think it was a different mentality. In Doha [for the season-opener] it was a crazy season the year prior and there was so much happening in both of our lives and together and I think we were tired, mentally,” Nuss said. “Once we were able to quiet the noise and settle down, we were able to get back to the basics.”

Those basics have them as the No. 2 team in the world and certainly the hottest team in the world, as top-ranked Ana Patricia Silva and Duda Lisboa took ninth, their worst finish as a team since the Ostrava Elite16 of…

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