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Kelly Cheng:
 
Kelly Claes Cheng
United States  
 
Vital Statistics
 

Photo: Ken Delgado
Birth Date September 18, 1995 (28 years old)
Home Town Placentia, CA
Resides Fullerton, CA
Height 6'2"
College Southern California
  Best Finish Winnings
United States 1st (5 times) $191,700
   AVP 1st (5 times) $191,700
International 1st (7 times) $332,775
   FIVB 1st (7 times) $332,775
   FIVB AGWC 3rd (2 times) $0
NORCECA 1st (3 times) $5,925
   NORCECA 1st (3 times) $5,925
Other 3rd $7,000
   Other 3rd $7,000
Overall 1st (15 times) $537,400
 
Bio Bits

Beach Bits:
When Cheng and Sara Hughes won the bronze medal in July 2013 at the FIVB Under 19 World Championships in Portugal, it marked the first time Cheng had been out of the country.
In New York City in 2015, Cheng and Sara Hughes became the lowest seeded team (16) to ever reach the semifinals of an AVP tournament.
In Chicago in 2017, Cheng and Sara Hughes became the youngest team to ever win an AVP title. Cheng was two weeks shy of turning 22 while Hughes was 22 1/2 years old.
Entering the 2023 season, Cheng has advanced to the semifinals in 27 of her 35 AVP tournaments. She has played in a semifinals in eight straight seasons with four different partners.

2022: Cheng formed a partnership with Betsi Flint, advancing to the semifinals in seven of their eight AVP events. The pair won in New Orleans in their second tournament together, and played in four championship matches. Cheng then reunited with Sara Hughes for the final AVP Pro Series tournament of the year and they did not lose a single set in winning the title. Cheng and Flint played five times internationally, winning in Hamburg while advancing to two other semifinals. Cheng and Hughes played three international events, winning all three, including one in Australia against previous teammate Flint in the gold medal match.
2021: Cheng and Sarah Sponcil played in all three AVP tournaments, finishing second, third and seventh. Cheng led the Tour in kills (8.53 per set), was fourth in hitting percentage (.501), seventh in blocks (0.92 per set) and eighth in aces (0.61 per set). The duo played nine times on the FIVB Tour, winning in consecutive outings in Russia and Czechia. In six of the seven events they were eliminated before the semifinals, the pair lost to a team that contained at least one 2020 Olympian.
2020: Cheng and Sarah Sponcil finished third, fifth and second in the three AVP tournaments. During the season, the pair lost five matches, four of which came against teams seeded first or second. Cheng led the Tour in kills (9.00 per set), was third in hitting percentage (.444) and fifth in blocks (0.9 per set). The duo played twice on the FIVB Tour, placing ninth and fifth.
2019: Cheng began the AVP season playing alongside Brandie Wilkerson, placing seventh in the season opener. She then teamed up with Sarah Sponcil for four AVP events, advancing to the semifinals each time and to the championship match once (in their first ever AVP tournament as partners in New York City). The pair had a 13-8 match record on the AVP Tour, with six of the losses coming to teams seeded either first or second. Cheng was third on the Tour in kills (7.37 per set) and ninth in hitting percentage (.447). Cheng played in 15 FIVB tournaments, once with Kerri Walsh Jennings (finished in ninth place) and the rest with Sponcil. Cheng and Sponcil won three medals, two silvers and one bronze.  Between May and September, Cheng played in tournaments in 16 of 21 weeks on five different continents.
2018: Cheng formed a partnership with Brittany Hochevar, and they played in six AVP tournaments. The pair advanced to the semifinals each time, with a best of second once. Cheng ranked second on the AVP Tour in kills (8.72 per set) and fourth in hitting percentage (.489). On the FIVB Tour Cheng played once with April Ross, finishing 17th, then twice with Sara Hughes, finishing ninth both times. She then teamed up with Hochevar for seven events. In their first tournament together Cheng and Hochevar advanced from the qualifier to reach the gold medal match. The duo advanced to one other semifinal but lost in the bronze medal match.
2017: 
Cheng and Hughes competed in four AVP tournaments, winning in the season finale in Chicago. Cheng led the AVP in kills (7.92 per set) and was fifth in hitting percentage (.466). Internationally Hughes played once with Kelly Reeves, then six times with Hughes, getting a best of fifth place twice.
2016: Cheng and Hughes played twice on the AVP Tour, advancing from the qualifier both times, placing third and then second. In San Francisco the duo became just the second team to reach a championship match on the AVP Tour after playing in the qualifier. On the FIVB Tour they played two events with a best of ninth.
2015: Cheng and Hughes played in two AVP tournaments. In New York City, the duo advanced from the qualifier and despite losing in the first round, they advanced to the semifinals, placing third. They also finished ninth in the Manhattan Beach Open. Internationally the duo played once on the FIVB Tour, losing in the qualifier.
2014: Played in one AVP qualifier with Hughes but did not advance. In the FIVB Under 21 World Championships the duo won the bronze medal.
2013: Cheng and Sara Hughes won a bronze medal at the FIVB Under 19 World Championships in Portugal.

College: Competed in sand volleyball for Southern Cal. She graduated high school a semester early and joined the team in the spring of 2014. Her freshman season she played with Alexa Strange, finishing with a 33-7 match record. As a sophomore she paired with Sara Hughes and the duo went 44-3, winning the last 25 matches of the season. They won the AVCA National Championship, with Cheng being chosen AVCA All-American. Cheng completed a perfect junior season, finishing 48-0 in matches and losing just one set with Hughes. They won the National Championship again and for the second straight year Cheng was named AVCA All-American.

Personal: Formerly Kelly Claes, she married Jordan Cheng in 2022. Her father, Paul, played baseball at San Diego State. Cheng has two brothers, Ben and Denny, and one sister, Kristi. She was a 2014 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection and was tabbed the top sand volleyball recruit in the nation.
 
 
Awards
 
  • AVP Best Offensive Player 2022
  • AVP Most Valuable Player 2022
  • AVP VolleyballMag.com Best Offensive Player 2022
  • AVP VolleyballMag.com Breakthrough Player 2017, 2018
  • AVP VolleyballMag.com MVP 2022
 
Career Summary
 
United States
Season Assoc Played 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 7th 9th Money Points Rank 13th 17th 25th 33rd 41st CQ
2014 AVP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 $0.00 60.0 121st 0 0 0 1 0 0
2015 AVP 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 $5,000.00 420.0 42nd 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 AVP 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 $8,500.00 590.0 38th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017 AVP 4 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 $18,950.00 1,404.0 18th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018 AVP 6 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 $30,250.00 1,980.0 3rd 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 AVP 5 0 1 3 0 0 1 0 $27,700.00 2,205.0 10th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020 AVP 3 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 $12,500.00 0.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 AVP 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 $14,750.00 1,193.0 5th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2022 AVP 9 2 3 3 0 0 1 0 $47,050.00 8,825.0 4th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2023 AVP 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 $27,000.00 4,526.0 32nd 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total
(Rank)
  39
(230th)
5
(46th)
8 18 0 1 4 2 $191,700.00
(39th)
21,203.0   0 0 0 1 0 0
 
International
Season Assoc Played 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 7th 9th Money Points Rank 13th 17th 25th 33rd 41st CQ
2013 FIVB AGWC 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 $0.00 112.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 FIVB AGWC 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 $0.00 112.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
2015 FIVB 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 $0.00 20.0 283rd 0 0 0 0 1 0
2016 FIVB 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 $9,000.00 300.0 126th 0 1 0 0 0 0
2017 FIVB 7 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 $23,750.00 1,080.0 31st 0 3 0 0 0 0
2018 FIVB 10 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 $27,750.00 1,990.0 42nd 0 2 1 0 0 1
2019 FIVB 15 0 2 1 0 3 0 7 $49,000.00 3,600.0 11th 0 0 0 1 0 1
2020 FIVB 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 $4,000.00 390.0 14th 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 FIVB 9 2 0 0 0 4 0 2 $41,000.00 1,800.0 5th 0 0 0 1 0 0
2022 FIVB 8 4 0 0 2 0 0 1 $126,500.00 3,120.0 15th 0 1 0 0 0 0
Season Assoc Played 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 7th 9th Money Points Rank 13th 17th 25th 33rd 41st CQ
2023 FIVB 10 1 1 0 1 4 0 1 $51,775.00 3,730.0 7th 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total
(Rank)
  66
(186th)
7
(31st)
4 3 4 15 0 18 $332,775.00
(64th)
16,254.0   0 7 1 2 1 2
 
 
 
NORCECA
Season Assoc Played 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 7th 9th Money Points Rank 13th 17th 25th 33rd 41st CQ
2014 NORCECA 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 $850.00 90.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
2015 NORCECA 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 $2,075.00 100.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 NORCECA 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 $3,000.00 200.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
Total
(Rank)
  5
(166th)
3
(21st)
1 1 0 0 0 0 $5,925.00
(37th)
390.0   0 0 0 0 0 0
 
Overall
Total
(Rank)
  111
(167th)
15
(37th)
13 23 4 16 4 20 $537,400.00
(49th)
37,847.0   0 7 1 3 1 2
 
Red denotes ranked 1st
 
Victory List
 
Victory Date Assoc Location Partner Seed Winnings
1 8/30/2015 NORCECA Varadero Sara Hughes   $1,500
2 7/3/2016 NORCECA North Bay Sara Hughes 7 $1,500
3 8/7/2016 NORCECA Boqueron Sara Hughes 1 $1,500
4 9/3/2017 AVP Chicago Sara Hughes 12 $11,000
5 5/29/2021 FIVB Sochi Sarah Sponcil 14 $10,000
6 6/6/2021 FIVB Ostrava Sarah Sponcil 9 $10,000
7 5/29/2022 AVP New Orleans Betsi Flint 1 $7,000
8 8/14/2022 FIVB Hamburg Betsi Flint 10 $15,000
9 11/13/2022 AVP Huntington Beach Sara Hughes 1 $4,000
10 11/27/2022 FIVB Torquay Sara Hughes 1 $5,000
Victory Date Assoc Location Partner Seed Winnings
11 12/3/2022 FIVB Torquay Sara Hughes 2 $15,000
12 1/29/2023 FIVB Doha Sara Hughes 9 $75,000
13 3/26/2023 FIVB Tepic Sara Hughes 5 $15,000
14 4/16/2023 AVP New Orleans Sara Hughes 1 $7,000
15 5/21/2023 AVP Huntington Beach Sara Hughes 1 $7,000
 

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