Ranked sixth in the world, Claes and Sponcil are the outlier among the four U.S. teams for one very good reason: They are young.
Claes is 25, and Sponcil is 24, making them the youngest beach volleyball team in U.S. history. Sponcil will also be the second-youngest U.S. Olympic beach player, just a year older than May-Treanor was in her debut in 2000.
The pair, who started playing together in 2018, are as hot as anyone at the moment, having won World Tour events in each of the last two weeks.
The 6-2 Claes, who has also partnered with Walsh Jennings and Ross in the past, won back-to-back national titles at USC with Sara Hughes in 2016 and ’17, with the first championship capping an undefeated season.
Sponcil, who hails from Phoenix, is the only non-Californian among the four women representing the U.S. However, she did go to college in the Golden State, playing at Loyola Marymount for three years before transferring to UCLA. The 5-10 Sponcil played indoor and beach at both schools.