AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOUR WINNERS CROWNED ON MOOLOOLABA BEACH

AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOUR WINNERS CROWNED ON MOOLOOLABA BEACH

Credit: volleyball.org.au

The first leg of the 2022 Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Tour (AJBVT) has wrapped up, with the country’s best U19 and U21 beach volleyballers battling it out for the crown on Mooloolaba Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

It was a sister showdown in the gold-medal match of the Women’s U21s with Brianna Mears (QLD) and her partner Jesse Mann (NSW)  taking on Brianna’s identical twin sister Kayla (QLD) and her partner Lucy Watkins (QLD). 

It was a tough match for both teams, with Brianna Meares and Mann taking the top step on the podium with a 2-0 win (21-18, 21-15).

Brianna said she knows she’s always in for a battle when she plays against her twin.

“You know it’s always going to be a good game against her, it was a lot of fun, we have a good rivalry,” she said.

“It’s really good to be back competing on the sand, especially after covid forcing a long break.”

Mooloolaba is the first stop on the three-round ABJVT, which will head to Cobram, VIC in early February before the final in Manly, NSW in early March.

Brianna Meares and Jesse Mann will team up again in Cobram, with Mann saying the team are feeling confident after their win today but have a few things to work on for the next event.

“It feels really good to take the win today,” Mann said. “We’ll keep working on some things, some defensive plays and focusing on everything coming together to find our rhythm for Cobram in a couple of weeks.”

In the Men’s U21, the pairing of Ben Booth (QLD) and Chaz Pucko (QLD) won gold against Shaun Anderson (QLD) and Jack McIntosh (QLD) with Booth/Pucko claiming the victory in straight sets (21-14, 21-16).

“It’s really nice to get the win, especially up here in Queensland, our home beach with a bit of a crowd and some family up here. The weather turned it on and we’re really grateful to be here,” Booth said.

“We went in just to play our own game, hit a few on two, run a few quick plays, get a couple of jump sets in and it worked out really well,” Pucko added.

In the Men’s U19, Queensland’s Toby Bergh and Ben Hood took the win in straight sets (21-18, 21-17) against fellow Queenslanders Killian Donovan and Jett Rocker-Graham.

In the Women’s U19s, it was Charlotte Duncan (QLD) and Cassie Dodd (WA) who won the gold with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-11) win over Jessica Lawrie (QLD) and Tandia Briggs (QLD).

The AJBVT continues in two weeks’ time with round two with the Cobram Barooga Classic in Victoria on 7 – 9 February, straight after the first round of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour, starting on 4 February. •

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