Aussies Primed for Final Stage of Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures
After three days of preliminary competition, the stage is set and the Aussies primed for the finals of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures event at Coolangatta Beach.
Currently underway on the Gold Coast, 50 teams battled their way through the pool stages on Friday, with playoffs set to commence on Saturday and semis and finals on Sunday.
Topping their pool, and leading the way for the Australian men is Izac Carrcher and Mark Nicolaidis who delivered the biggest upset of the tournament.
Fresh off their silver medal performance in the Australian Championships last weekend, Carracher and Nicolaidis have made their way through the pool stages undefeated, after defeating top seeded pair Trummer/Friedl of Austria.
In their first international tournament as a team, Carracher and Nicolaidis put up a tough fight to beat Austria in straight sets (2:0 – 21-19, 21-18).
“We knew we were up for a tough one, the Austrian boys are veterans of the sport, they’ve been playing for such a long time,” Carracher said.
“They played some outstanding volleyball yesterday, so we knew we had to bring our A-game and grind out some longer points than we’re used to.
“It was great to get the job done – we had to fight back a little bit at the end of each set and I’m really proud of the way we played,” he said.
Having made their way through to the quarterfinals, Carracher and Nicolaidis are relishing the experience of international beach volleyball.
“It’s so awesome to have international beach volleyball in Australia, we’ve been trying to play an international tournament for years now,” Carracher said.
“I know Mark has had a bit more international experience than me, but I’ve only ever been able to play against Asian teams and Australian teams.
“So I had no idea that to expect from the European teams – it’s very different to watching them on the TV to playing against them.
“I think we know that if we can deliver top quality, we can challenge most teams.
“In the end, it’s just on us to deliver on our game plan, and play the best quality volleyball we can.
“We don’t know where it’s going to take us, but hopefully it will take us to a final,” he said.
In the women’s competition, Australian top seeds Phoebe Bell and Rio Olympian Nikki Laird won their second game against Israel’s Barannik and Ashush to progress to tomorrow’s Round of 12.
With a spot in the quarterfinals up for grabs, Laird said they’ll use learnings from today to prepare for tomorrow’s game.
“It feels really good to come out with the win [today], we were confident with our ability to win that game,” Laird said.
“But obviously there is a lot of pressure being the number one seeds on the tour and our home beach.
“We definitely want to come out and win the whole tournament – so when you know it’s do or die, it can eat into the quality at the start of the game which it did for us.
“We have been yearning for this [international competition] for two and a half years now and we have just been desperate to get out there and remember what it’s like to play international teams.
“We’ve watched from afar for way too long, it’s almost hard to contain the excitement, and we’re ready for the Round of 12 tomorrow,” she said.
Competition continues tomorrow, with the all-important Round of 12 and quarterfinals, ahead of Sunday’s medal play offs.
See the schedule and draw HERE
Watch the Centre Court action live on the Beach Volleyball World YouTube