Women’s Beach Volleyball | December 18, 2023
JUAN DOLIO, Dominican Republic – Three-time USC beach volleyball All-American Megan Kraft (San Diego, Calif.) and All-American alumna Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y.) paired to represent the U.S. and won gold at the 2023 NORCECA Beach Final on Sunday, Dec. 17.
The duo recently began playing together after facing each other many times in AVP and FIVB events. Cannon-Kraft took 13th in the September BPT Elite 16 event in Paris, their first tournament together. They finished ninth at the Beach Volleyball World Championship in Tlaxcala, Mexico, in mid-October; and finished fifth at the BPT Challenge Nuvali in the Philippines in early December.
Cannon and Kraft went three sets with Canada’s fourth-seeded duo of Molly McBain and Sarah Pavan in the championship match and got a 21-16, 14-21, 15-11 victory to claim gold medals.
“It was really windy in the beginning of the game, and we served really well. Also, our side out was cleaner,” said Kraft. “Canada served better in the second set. In the third set the wind died, so it was more a classic game, we trusted our side out and we served as tactically as we could.”
“It was a good match,” said Cannon. “There was a lot of back and forth like Megan said. They are a really good team, they know us well, we play them all the time, so it was exciting volleyball”.
Seeded second in Juan Dolio, Cannon and Kraft emerged from pool play unscathed with a 6-0 record in sets. They defeated pairs from Panama, Guatemala, and Costa Rica to reach the quarterfinals. There, the Trojan duo took down the top-seeded home-country pair of Crismii Paniagua and Nallelin Taveras of the Dominican Republic, 21-6, 21-9. In the semifinal, Cannon-Kraft faced Puerto Rico’s third-seeded team of Maria Gonzalez and Allanis Navas in their first three-set match of the tournament and won. 21-19, 18-21, 16-14.
On the men’s side, USC alum Andy Benesh paired with Miles Partain to win bronze medals.
Under fifth-year head coach Dain Blanton, the USC beach volleyball team captured its third straight NCAA Championship (fifth NCAA title and sixth national title) in…