So far, the transition from college to professional for former LSU beach volleyball stars Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth has been flawless.
The 5-foot, 6-inch Nuss and and the 6-4 Kloth have won all four Association of Professional Volleyball events they’ve entered since turning pro after they were named the college beach tandem of the year last season when they were 36-0.
Their win Sunday was their biggest to date and a stunner as they played in their first AVP Gold tourney, the highest pro level of the sport.
Nuss and Kloth became the first rookie team to win their first main event as professional AVP athletes when they beat 2021 U.S. Olympians and No. 2-seeded Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes 21-12, 19-21, 16-14 in the championship match of AVP Atlanta.
They were also the first duo to advance through qualifying and win an AVP main tournament since 2013. As the No. 14 seed, Nuss and Kloth won three matches in qualifying to reach the main draw where they upset the No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7 seeded teams to reach the semifinals. In the semis, Nuss and Kloth defeated sixth-seeded Terese Cannon and Molly Turner again, this time by 21-13, 19-21, 15-5 score.
In the finals, the 23-year-old Nuss had 31 kills with only seven errors to hit .522. She also had two aces and 19 digs. The 24-year-old Kloth had 13 kills with one error in 25 attacks, two blocks, and a dig.
Kloth and Nuss are coached by the husband-wife team of Drew and Mary Hamilton. Drew is an assistant coach at LSU.
“This has been a long time,” Nuss told Camryn Irwin on the Peacock TV broadcast. “We have trained for about a year, just grinding, and it has for sure paid off. That was a total battle, and it was awesome. I can’t even explain it, I don’t know what words will come out of my mouth, wow.”
Added Kloth, “I am so honored to play next to Kristen, she’s so unreal. But honestly, it was a huge team effort. Drew and Mary, Kristen, all of us, there was so much. It was a grind, to say the least. Playing here was unbelievable. It was fun.”
Nuss and Kloth won their pro debut June 6 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, their second tournament July 9 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and their third consecutive tournament July 25 in Atlantic City — all AVPNext events. They’ve won more than $20,000 in prize money each so far, including $10,000 each in Atlanta.
The daunting duo went 8-0 in Atlanta and are now 65-2 since their senior year began, including 29-2 as pros.
Their next tourney is an AVP Gold event starting Friday, the Manhattan (Calif.) Beach Open, referred to as the “Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball.”