Aussie volley girls stay up for Games tilt

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Murray Wenzel / AAP News

 

The talented tandem rolls on in the Birmingham beach volleyball tournament winning in straight sets to progress to Friday’s quarter-finals.

 

Portugal, Cancun, the Swiss Alps, a bulldozed marketplace in Birmingham.

Beach volleyball takes Australians Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy to all manner of places and requires a certain energy.

A dance troupe, DJ, relentless MC and volunteers in the stands playing inflatable saxophones in between every point feature at their latest assignment this week at the Commonwealth Games venue, a vast bitumen expanse that was once the site of the Smithfield Markets.

And the duo, fresh off a title in Portugal two weeks ago and set to fly to Hamburg next week, have so far delivered the goods.

A 21-14, 21-13 defeat of Cyprus in swirling winds on Thursday completed a 3-0 group stage run ahead of Friday’s quarter-finals.

“Lots of travel and (staying mentally fresh) is definitely a challenge and we’re always playing the best teams in the world,” Clancy told AAP after their straight-sets win.

“It’s the beauty of our sport to have a world tour and after this we have to go to Hamburg and play another tournament

“We do a good job of it; aim to podium every week but take it day-by-day and have those conversations if we need to and reset.

“I’m feeling good about the quarters; (the swirling breeze in Birmingham is) handy for my serving, so you take the good with the bad but she (Cypriot¬†Manolina Konstantinou) got some good ones too.

“I was like ‘you can’t out-jump serve me’.”

Silver at Tokyo’s Olympics followed silver on the Gold Coast four years ago for the pair, who would love to go one better before they are the main attraction at the World Pro Tour’s Australian stop in Torquay this November.

“It’ll be nice to have an Elite 16 (the top division) there, that’ll be awesome,” Kingaroy product Clancy said.

“We have a few (favourite places) but it’s always the one you do best at.

“Hamburg’s good to us, Gstaad in the Swiss Alps we all love and Portugal’s always good to us.”

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