Cobram Champions crowned at Australian Beach Volleyball Tour 

Cobram Champions crowned at Australian Beach Volleyball Tour 

The second round of the 2023/24 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour was fiercely fought and ultimately the top two seeds made it through to both finals of the Cobram Barooga Classic.

Stefie Fejes and Jana Milutinovic broke through for their first Tour victory as a combination while Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis went one better than their second place in 2022 to win their first National Tour title in almost two years

The top four seeds in the men’s draw proceeded to the semis having not dropped a set, however that’s when things really heated up.

Top seeds Carracher and Nicolaidis looked home with three match points before D’Artagnan Potts and Ben Hood ripped off seven straight points to hold an early lead in the decider. The Beach Pro Tour regulars were able to regroup to claim the third set and return to their second straight gold medal match in Cobram.

Jack Pearse and Paul Burnett entered the semis as slight favourites over James Takken and Josh Howat, however their enthralling battle went the distance in every set before the second seeds prevailed.

The gold medal match was a close contest, as was to be expected between four players who train with each other week-in, week-out.

Carracher and Nicolaidis seemed to always have the edge in the opener and took the opening set by four, and while the second set was in the balance throughout, the more experienced pair shone when it counted most to go one better than their Cobram silver in 2022.

“These boys obviously know us really well and so do Zac [Schubert] and Tom [Hodges] back home so we know when we’re doing stuff well because we can beat them,” said Carracher. 

“But we also know when we’re not doing it well because they know what we’re doing so they can stop us really well.

“Testament to those guys; Jacko had a really massive game there at the back court making a heap of digs and Pauly was all over us so it was really awesome to have the opportunity to play them.”

The men’s bronze medal match went to three sets, with third seeds James Takken and Josh Howat outlastting D’Artagnan Potts and Ben Hood.

The women’s decider was a showdown between the top two seeds with both teams breezing through their early morning semi-finals.

In the final, Fejes and Milutinovic gained a career 3-2 head-to-head edge over Georgia Johnson and Jasmine Fleming, beating the top seeds in straight sets.

After going a set down in their quarter-final on Saturday evening, the second seeds went on an unbroken run of six straight sets including an impressive final display en route to the gold medal.

Knowing each others’ games back-to-front as regular training partners, Fejes said it was important they stuck to their game plan to give them the best chance of victory.

“We really went out there and played our game and executed – we’re really proud,” said Fejes.“

Milutinovic said the pair couldn’t wait to get to round three in Mollymook at the end of the month, where a Beach Pro Tour Futures event will also be played.

“We’re so keen to get back on the Tour and playing a bit more often,” she said. “It’s always a good battle with these girls.

“Pretty happy we’re 3-2 up now [in their head-to-head with Fleming/Johnson] – we’ll see what happens next!”

The bronze medal match was a battle of Victorian-based internationals, with Anna Donlan and Daisy Mumby coming back from a set down to win an entertaining match over Lucie Šauerová and Tarryn Angermeier.

There’s two more days of competition in Cobram with the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Tour starting tomorrow, while the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour moves on to Mollymook at the end of the month.

2023/24 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour
Round 2 | Cobram Barooga Classic, Thompson’s Beach VIC
2-4 February 2024

Elite Women
Gold Medal Match: Jana Milutinovic/Stefie Fejes d Georgia Johnson/Jasmine Fleming 2:0 (21-15, 21-13)
Bronze Medal Match: 7-Anna Donlan/Daisy Mumby d 9-Lucie Šauerová/Tarryn Angermeier 2:1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-7)

Elite Men
Gold Medal Match: Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher d Jack Pearse/Paul Burnett 2:0 (21-17, 21-18)
Bronze Medal Match: James Takken/Josh Howat d D’Artagnan Potts/Ben Hood 2:1 (21-11, 14-21, 15-10)

Women Challenger Division 1
Gold Medal Match: Talia Samuel/Marcela Galeano d Imogen Rowe/Clara Lassen (NSW) 2:1 (21-13, 19-21, 18-16)
Bronze Medal Match: Evangeline La Terra/Lucia La Terra d Ludmila Novakova/Ewa Gorczanska 2:0 (21-13, 21-13)

Men Challenger Division 1
Gold Medal Match: Ben Carroll/Klaas McIntosh d Finley Bennett/Adam Fejes 2:1 (15-21, 21-14, 15-12)
Bronze Medal Match: Thomas Smith (NSW) Luke Ryan (QLD) d Georgios Fountotos/Sean Murphy (NSW) 2:0 (21-16, 21-13)

Women Challenger Division 1
Gold Medal Match: Chloe Sumich/Caitlin Clarke d Charlotte Hansen/Rosie Alchin 2:1 (20-22, 22-20, 15-10)
Bronze Medal Match:  Lina Mueller/Lilyana Stanojevic d Kaija Bond/Mikayla Plapp 2:0 (21-14, 21-9)

Men Challenger Division 2
Gold Medal Match: William Sandall/Arthur Guasti d Chris Burns/Daniel Kuklych (forfeit)
Bronze Medal Match: Ethan Grocott/Cooper Ryan d Oliver Clayton/Nathan Malloy 2:0 (20-22, 21-14, 15-13)

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