Beach Volleyball News


Rarotonga, Cook Islands, November 5, 2015 – Australia and New Zealand shared top honour at the AVC Continental Cup Zonal Championships – Oceania at the Cook Islands Beach Volleyball Centre in Rarotonga, with the former capturing the women’s crown and the latter the men’s title.
The women’s team of Nicole Laird/Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Becchara Palmer/Jordan Mowen beat Vanuatu 2-0 in the women’s gold medal playoff. The Vanuatu team were represented by Pata Miller/Matauata Linline and Joe Loti/Ler Leeslyn.
In the first match, world U23 beach volleyball champions and the Jogjakarta Open winners Artacho Del Solar and Laird put Australia in front 1-0 when they struggled to beat Matauatu/Pata in hard-fought three sets 21-17 13-21 15-11, cementing their domination over the Vanuatu’s pairing as the Australian duo have already downed the same rivals in the showdown at the recent AVC Beach Women’s Volleyball Championship in Hong Kong.
The other clash saw Mowen/Palmer brush off Joe/Ler in straight sets 21-14 22-20 to hand Australia the eventual 2-0 win for the women’s title.
“It was a good tournament for us as a whole unit,” Laird said.
“Both teams played a very aggressive style of volleyball, which helped us come away with the win. It’s good preparation for Asian Continental Cup next year, but we’re all still very clear on the big picture, and know there’s still a lot more to go.”
Palmer, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, said it was nice to play as a team.
“The Davis Cup style of play was really unique, but I think everyone really enjoyed it” Palmer said. “Everyone has done their bit to get the Aussie flag atop that flagpole today, and it feels great.”
In the third place playoff earlier, New Zealand outclassed Fiji 2-0, with Julia Tilley/Polley Shaunna sending Claire Delai/Ilisena Ratudina packing 21-9 21-13 and Kiana Tawa/Alice Bain powering past Nima Togayali/Lavavanua Togayali 23-21 21-14.
Meanwhile, the Australian men’s team of Damien Schumann/Joshua Court and Bo Soderberg/Cole Durant went down 1-2 to New Zealand in the final showdown.
In the men’s competition, Durant and Soderberg won their pool match including the magnificent come-from-behind 16-21 21-17 23-21 win over Jason Lochhead/Benjamin O’Dea, but Court and Schumann lost to New Zealand top seeds, Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea 17-21 16-21.
In a gripping golden point match, O’Dea and Watson held on to beat Durant and Soderberg 28-26, 15-21, 15-9.
In the third place playoff, American Samoa pulled off a straight-match win over Cook Islands. Gustiano Tuaniga/Myles Muagututia disappointed Brendon Heath/Daniel Heath 21-9 21-18, while Sigalu Aitui/Sam Luaiva thrashed David Maihia/Mata Ngatokotua 21-15 21-8.
Although the result has no bearing for Australia on qualification for next year’s Asian Olympic qualifiers, it gave all four Australian teams a chance to experience the competition format against teams that will challenge them for Rio spots next year.
Australia had already qualified for next year’s qualifiers as host nation.
The Oceania Cup was played to a Davis Cup tennis format, with two teams representing each nation, and a “golden game” played if the match was locked at one-all.
An announcement is expected soon on which Australian beach will host the Asian Zonal Olympic qualification tournament next year.
1. New Zealand 160 world points
2. Australia 144
3. American Samoa 128
4. Cook Island 112
5. Vanuatu 96
6. Samoa 0 point
Note: 5th and 6th ranked on point ratio
1. Australia 160 world points
2. Vanuatu 144
3. New Zealand 128
4. Fiji 112
5. Guam 96
6. Tuvalu 0
Note: 5th and 6th ranked on point ratio