Men’s Tour Leaders defeated in epic opening match
Martin Kaufer and Ky Landers broke new ground in round one of the 2023/24 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour when they took out gold, however were outlasted in the opening round of the Cobram Barooga Classic in a titanic match.
Perth Steel captain Daniel Piggott and new partner Garang Anyang maintained their composure through an epic final set to win their opening match 2:1 (21-15, 14-21, 21-19).
Having only met each other yesterday but having long respected each other’s talent, Piggott and Anyang bounced out of the blocks to claim the first set before the Tour Leaders evened up the match.
The round one winners looked out of it when their opponents led by three in the decider, however they reeled off four straight points to lead 14-13 to be on the cusp of victory.
As the arm wrestle continued, the crowd built with even a koala intrigued by proceedings high up in a nearby gum tree.
Both teams traded match points before Piggott and Anyang prevailed, the entertaining 40th and final point of the deciding set a testament to the nature of the contest.
While Piggott didn’t expect to win, his partner was far more confident of result ending in their favour.
“I was expecting it, I’ve seen this guy play!” said Anyang. “It was a good game. We’re just learning what each other needs as we go on, but this is not a bad way to start.”
Having been within two points of victory before dropping to match point down, Anyang said a positive attitude was necessary to stay in the encounter.
“You’ve just got to keep telling each other ‘we got to this point by doing something right; let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing, let’s not shy away from this moment.’
“‘Piggy’ stood up – those boys were serving really well.”
Piggott, drawing on the qualities which helped him lead Perth Steel to the 2023 Scape Australian Volleyball Super League title, believed the pair would be ready to handle what ever came at them in the big moments.
“Garang and I, we talked about in those pressure situations, we’d like to think that’s when we go our best. We know we’re good – we’ve both got that killer instinct.”
Piggott and Anyang now take on Beach Pro Tour Futures Geelong winners Jack Pearse and Paul Burnett after the top eight men’s seeds all scored wins on day one.
The top four seeds in the women’s draw made it through day one safely, however fifth seeds Ruby Vanloo and Bailee Kendall went down to fellow South Australians Leilani Burnell and Cameron Zajer in straight sets.
The first set went the distance before Burnell and Zajer triumphed 22-20, building the confidence for a six-point margin in the second set.
The only other team to beat a higher ranked opponent in the main draw was Lucie Šauerová and Tarryn Angermeier, the ninth seeds beating eighth seeds Georgina Vanloo and Tandia Briggs 2:0 (21-18, 21-13).
Day two of the Cobram Barooga Classic start at 8am AEDT on Saturday at Thompson’s Beach.