Bell and Fejes take top honours at Cobram ABVT
Top seeds Phoebe Bell and Stefanie Fejes have proven why they held that number one ranking, winning the Women’s Elite division at the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour (ABVT) Cobram Barooga Classic.
They sailed through their preliminary matches without dropping a set, however, with opponents Alisha Stevens and Caitlin Bettenay also undefeated, the gold medal match was set to be a tough battle from the outset.
Underdogs Stevens and Bettenay came out firing, taking an early lead to win the first set 21-14. However Bell and Fejes fought back in the second set to close the gap, edging just in front to secure the second set 21-19.
The third set could have been anyone’s game, but Bell and Fejes dug deep in 30+ degree heat on Thompsons Beach to win the third set by five points, 15-10.
Cobram ABVT was the first tournament Bell and Fejes have played together, and they said it was their shared values that allowed them to gel on the court and take the win.
“We came together last minute but we’ve just been on the same page about our game style and our on-court values. We stuck together as a team today and I’m really proud of our performance and the result,” Bell said.
“It was a really good game of volleyball we had against Caitlin and Alisha,” Fejes added.
“We were getting into our style and feeling each other out on the court and getting into our rhythm and I really enjoyed playing with Phoebe.
“Before the tournament we spoke about our values on the court and before each game we’d go through our values and how we want to be on the court together, so I think that made us gel a lot better and we just trusted each other, trust in the main thing,” Fejes said.
The duo will now prepare for the Mollymook ABVT in two weeks time where they’ll look to build on their new partnership.
“We were finally starting to find our flow as a team at the end of the tournament, and we want to lead with that going into Mollymook,” Bell said.
In the earlier bronze medal match, Sarah Burton and Michela Strati won in straight sets against Jana Milutinovic and Kayla Mears (17-21, 13-21).
The ninth seeds came into the match as the underdogs against fourth seeds Milutinovic/Mears, but played unreservedly to take the win.
“I’m stoked, we went out there and we had a ‘give it our all’ kind of mindset and backed each other the whole way which felt really good,” Strati said.
“We wanted to stay aggressive, change things up and keep them guessing the whole time and I felt like we stuck to that pretty well, played our game and came out on top,” Burton added.
Strati, from QLD, and Burton, who lives in Canberra with the Australian Volleyball Academy, only met at the start of the tournament, after a late partner swap due to injuries. Having known of each other but having never played together before, Strati said communication was key to their success on the sand this week.
“Having never played with each other before, it gave us a reason to keep the communication up between us and we both had to communicate to each other about what we needed on court,” she said.
“It felt really trusting and like we gelled well together,” Burton added.
See all results HERE