The first leg of the Australian Beach Volleyball kicked off on Manly Beach this weekend. As part of Volleyfest the set up was spectacular with the biggest Volleyball set up since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
65 teams from Australia and around the world competed in 4 divisions. 16 Teams in the Main Draw not only competed for the Gold Medal and valuable National Tour points, but this event also served as a Commonwealth Games selection event for the Australian Athletes.
12 teams were seeded into the Main Draw, with 4 teams coming through the Qualifying Event on Friday.
25 Women’s teams entered into the NSW Open, with 12 teams going straight into the Main Draw. The Qualfying Tournament on Friday saw eventual Silver medalists, late nominations from Germany Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger make it into the main draw.
6 Sydney based teams joined the 5 visiting international teams and current Beach Volleyroos in the main draw. There were no major upsets in the pool phase, with the top seeds also making it to the Quarterfinals on Super Sunday.
The semi finals had a distinct international flavour, with Mariafe Artacho del Solar / Phoebe Bell winning against Czech / Slovak combination Vorlova / Michalovicova, that now reside in Manly. The other semi final went to the German team over the Japanese team Hasegawa / Futami.
In an exciting 3 set final against the German team, Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Phoebe Bell put their hand up for Commonwealth Games selection, only dropping one set all weekend. Third place went to the Japanese team.
40 men’s teams registered for the NSW Open with the Qualifying event fiercely contested on Friday. Two international teams (CAN and FRA) and two Australian teams made it to the Main Draw, joining 4 NSW combinations, international Wild Cards from Canada and Czech Republic and Australian Beach Volleyroos.
The pool phases did not have major upsets, with the top seeds making it to the Quarter Finals. In the semi finals top seeds Chris McHugh beat Czech team Dumek / Bercik and Canadians Saxton O’Gorman beat Australians Schubert / Durant.
In a close 3 set final the Australians beat the Canadian team Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman to get in the mood for Commonwealth Games. Third place went to Zachery Schubert / Cole Durant, beating Dumek / Bercik in the Bronze final.
9 Women’s teams contested the Women’s division 2 with Queenslanders Danielle King and Vanessa Green winning over VIC / NSW combination Taylor / Marshall. Third place went to NSW team McMahon (Alegre)/Kopecka.
With 24 teams in Division 2 this tournament was hotly contested. The visiting Austrian team Florian Schnetzer / Daniel Muellner just missed out on qualifying for the Main Draw against Canadians Keith / Macneil. They made it up by winning Division 2 decisively by not dropping a set. They beat Victorians Matthew Abela / Alexander Naef in the Final, with the Bronze medal going to Manly locals Matthew Collits / Alexander Gibbons.
Photos: Jordan Anthony Films