2018-03-12 19:49:00 CET
The Americans are expected to start their new partnership in the four-star event in Xiamen, in April
The bronze medal in the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major might just have been the final moment for the American team of Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat as the duo is splitting, with Summer joining forces with Sara Hughes, report volleymag. The new partners have already trained together in California.
They have played together in one tournament to date, the 2012 Under-21 World Championships, in Halifax, Canada, where they finished fourth after losing to eventual champions Nina Betschart and Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland in the semifinal.
Ross, 25, an Under-19 and Under-21 world champion, has been playing in the World Tour since 2011 and she has had nine different partners so far, winning a silver medal with Emily Day in 2013. She joined Sweat in 2017 and competed in 11 international tournaments with her, having the bronze in Fort Lauderdale as their best result.
Hughes, 23, has played in 13 World Tour events in her entire career, 11 of them with Claes, with who she won four college beach volleyball national championships, recording impressive 103 straight wins on their way. The team won bronze medals on Under-19 and Under-21 World Championships in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Ironically, the last match of Hughes and Kelly together might have happened in the Round of 16 of the Fort Lauderdale Major, when they were knocked out by Summer and Sweat. Summer ended as the best scorer, best attacker and best blocker of the tournament.
Hughes and Ross, who will be coached by beach volleyball legend Jose Loiola, are expected to play their first tournament together in the World Tour four-star event in Xiamen, China, from April 18-22. It’s not certain who Sweat and Claes will share the court with in the remainder of the season.