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2022 Australian Beach Volleyball Champions crowned at Coolangatta Beach

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The 2022 Australian Beach Volleyball champions were today crowned at Coolangatta Beach, after a thrilling three days of action that saw Australia’s best alongside international teams go head to head.

 

The 2022 Australian Beach Volleyball champions were today crowned at Coolangatta Beach, after a thrilling three days of action that saw Australia’s best alongside international teams go head to head.

Number one seeds Nikki Laird and Phoebe Bell have taken out the Women’s Elite title while Aussie men’s favourites Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher fell in three thrilling sets to New Zealand’s number one team Sam O’dea and Bradley Fuller.

The Australian Championships marked the first of four events to be staged on the Gold Coast over 10 days as part of Volleyslam 2022 Festival, which will see all top teams returning to Coolangatta on Wednesday for the FIVB Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour Futures event.

Today’s Women’s Elite division final saw the Aussies come up against the unpredictable Philippines duo of Cherry Ann Rondina and Bernadeth Pons who have been nearly unstoppable in their journey to the gold medal match, only losing one pool match of seven games they had to play to get to the grand final.

However it was Aussies Laird and Bell who got the upper hand to win the national title in straight sets 21-18, 21-12.

The duo came into the final 2022 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour (ABVT) event of the season off the back of a World Tour appearance in Mexico, and while Rio 2016 Olympian Laird said it took a few games to find their groove after touching back on Australian sand, she said it all came together when it counted.

“I feel really proud of Phoebe and myself, I think we made a commitment at this event that we’d really start to plug some holes we found at that international level in Mexico,” she said.

“We made that commitment early and we grinded through the tournament with it, we led with competitiveness and I think it took care of itself in the end.”

Queensland local Bell, who won the first ABVT stop in Cobram in early February and won silver at the second event in Mollymook, said it was really great to get the win on her local beach.

“It’s so good to get a win on one of my home beaches in Queensland in front of my friends and family. I am so proud of myself and Nicki of how we’ve been throughout the tournament to get the result we were after,” Bell said.

“Cheery and Bernadeth are a great team and they put up a great fight today. They’ve played awesome all weekend and we really had to bring our top game today.”

In the women’s bronze medal match, Britt Kendall and Jasmine Fleming won in straight sets against Rebecca Ingram and Christie Jenkins (21-17, 21-18)

It’s Kendall’s first event back on the national tour after a two year hiatus with a serious back injury. The 26-year-old said it’s been a really tough journey back to the sand, which makes today’s bronze medal result even more momentous.

In the Men’s Elite, coming in as an unseeded international team, O’dea and Fuller of New Zealand had to play eight games of volleyball over three days, starting in Friday’s Qualification Tournament, to earn their spot in the gold medal final against Aussie top seeds Nicolaidis and Carracher.

The undefeated Kiwis won the gold over the national Tour Leaders, 2-1 (21-17, 13-21, 15-12).

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist O’dea, said today’s victory was a great accomplishment for his new team on their journey towards qualifying for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“We had a long tournament all the way through the qualifiers to get here, but it was awesome,” the 31-year-old said.

“It was Brad’s first full international tournament and he played incredibly well so we’re stoked.

“We have a couple of Kiwi teams looking to qualify for Birmingham, so we just have to focus on doing what we did today, winning tournaments and playing well, but that’s definitely the goal.”

In the men’s bronze medal match, Justin Schumann and Garang Anyang broke through for their first podium on the national tour, defeating Sam Halley and Mateusz Zieba 2-0 (21-17, 21-16).

Volleyslam action continues tomorrow with the start of the Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships, with the World Beach Volleyball Tour kicking off Wednesday 30 March.

 

With thanks Volleyball Australia

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