Auckland, New Zealand, January 28, 2018 – The heat proved no match for the fiery competition during today’s finals at the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Open with USA knocking New Zealand out of the top spot in both the men’s and women’s competition.
New Zealand’s Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour faced Eric Zaun and Adam Roberts of the USA in the men’s final.
Zaun and Roberts took the tight first set by 21-17, just needing a win in the second set to take the title.
The Kiwis didn’t give up without a fight though as they went point for point in a thrilling second set.
With both teams sitting on 21 points the game was forced into sudden death, with one team needing two points on their opponents to secure the win.
Kapa and Seymour again kept Zaun and Roberts on a tight leash until the Americans eventually broke away and snatched the elusive victory with 27 to 25.
Veteran player Adam Roberts, aged 42, has been playing internationally since 2000 while Eric Zaun, 24, made his international debut just last year at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Qinzhou, China, where he and his teammate finished 17th
Zaun described their time playing in New Zealand as “awesome” and their impression of the country as “so beautiful – way better than Los Angeles.”
Today’s second placing ensured Kapa and Seymour took the Volleyball New Zealand National Beach Tour overall title, with three consecutive wins and today’s second place to their name.
In the open women’s final New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games representatives Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills conceded victory to Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock of the USA.
Polley and Wills, who were recently named as New Zealand’s beach volleyball team for the 2018 Gold Goast Commonwealth Games were in for a strong challenge from Dowdy, 27 and her teammate Pollock, 29, who have been playing internationally since 2014.
Dowdy and Pollock powered ahead early in the game, taking the first set 21-12 as the New Zealanders struggled to adjust to the height of the Americans’ block.
Polley and Wills came back fighting and played a strong second set in a bid to push the game to a tie breaker set, but were forced to settle for second place as the Americans took their second set win with a score of 21-18.
Kelsie Wills described the final as “tough”, but a good challenge before herself and Polley depart the country next week ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
“It was awesome to play a top international team though and get some game time against them before we head over the Australia next week”
“It’s obviously not the result we wanted but we had a really positive weekend overall and I’m excited to get back on the sand with Shaunna next weekend.”
Today’s event wraps up the Volleyball New Zealand Beach National Tour. Full results and replays of the finals can be found online at volleyballnz.org.nz
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