National Teams
Historic results at Elite16 in Portugal

Historic results at Elite16 in Portugal

Three Australian teams were in Portugal for one of the final Beach Pro Tour tournaments before the Olympic qualification period ends with two teams turning in historic results.

The two men’s teams – Zachery Schubert & Thomas Hodges and Mark Nicolaidis & Izac Carracher – both faced an uphill task just to make the main draw, needing to go through qualifying on Wednesday.

Both teams had near perfect days, not dropping a set to take their place in the 16-team field.

Nicolaidis & Carracher kept their form on the opening day of the main draw, taking down the German World #5 pair, while Hodges & Schubert split results against two teams ranked in the top 10.

On Friday, Nicolaidis & Carracher stayed perfect – including a victory over the Dutch third seeds – to top their pool without conceding a set and making their first career Elite16 quarter-final.

Hodges & Schubert faced a tough task to progress, up against the 2023 World Champions from the Czech Republic. However the Australians stood tall to win in straight sets and make the last eight at an Elite16 for the second time.

Unfortunately both Australian teams fell in Saturday’s quarter-finals against sides which eventually played off in the tournament final, however the fifth place finishes were both impressive and confidence-building.

“Even though we didn’t medal at this event it’s our best result we have achieved as a team,” said Schubert. “All the best teams are playing at these events and to walk away with a fifth and beating the World Champs is a pretty good feeling.

“It’s always nice to take out one of the best teams in the world… but we want more!”

With a second tier Challenge event in Poland coming up on Thursday followed by another Elite16 in Czechia the following week, Carracher said that they’re looking for another opportunity to match it with the best.

“Right back into it next week in Poland at the Challenger,” said Carracher. “It’s a cool opportunity for us to leave it all on the line.

“We’ll likely have to battle it out through the pressure cooker of the qualifier again so that’s an awesome opportunity for us to fine tune where we are at leading into Continental Cup which is the big goal.

“With Tom and Zach killing it at the moment, we now have an awesome potential opportunity to qualify that second spot for Australia at the Olympics through Asia.

“We haven’t qualified two men’s teams for a long time so that’s a huge opportunity. That’s our 100% focus at the moment.”

Mariafe Artacho del Solar & Taliqua Clancy were playing their first event of the year and were drawn in a tough pool. Despite taking down the sixth seeds in their final pool match, they didn’t qualify for the weekend and finished in a share of 13th.

All the Australian teams who competed in Portugal will be in action at the Beach Pro Tour Challenge in Stare Jablonki, Poland from Thursday 30 May until Sunday 2 June.

They will be joined by two more women’s teams which have revamped their combinations ahead of the tournament. Georgia Johnson will team up with Stefie Fejes, with Johnson’s former partner Jasmine Fleming combining with Fejes’ old teammate Jana Milutinovic.

Click here for images from the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 – Espinho POR (Image credit: Volleyball World

2024 BEACH PRO TOUR
Elite16 | Espinho POR
22-26 May 2024

WEDNESDAY 22 MAY – QUALIFYING
[Q10] Nicolaidis/Carracher d [Q7] Vitor Felipe/Renato (BRA) 2-0 (21-18, 21-15)
[Q11] Hodges/Schubert d [Q6] Bassereau/Lyneel (FRA) 2-0 (21-17, 21-18)
[Q10] Nicolaidis/Carracher d [Q15] Stankevicius/Knasas (LTU) 2-0 (21-16, 21-16)
[Q11] Hodges/Schubert d [Q14] Bello/Bello (ENG) 2-0 (21-16, 23-21)

THURSDAY 23 MAY – POOL MATCHES
[15] Hodges/Schubert d [7] Cottafava/Nicolai (ITA) 2:0 (21-16, 22-20)
[3] Carol/Barbara (BRA) d [11] Mariafe/Clancy 2:1 (21-13, 18-21, 15-12)
[14] Nicolaidis/Carracher d [6] Ehlers/Wickler (GER) 2:0 (21-14, 21-17)
[10] Cherif/Ahmed (QAT) d [15] Hodges/Schubert 2:1 (21-18, 17-21, 15-9)

FRIDAY 24 MAY – POOL MATCHES
[14] Álvarez/Moreno [ESP] d [11] Mariafe/Clancy 2:1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-11)
[14] Nicolaidis/Carracher d [11] Bryl/Łosiak (POL) 2:0 (21-18, 22-20)
[15] Hodges/Schubert d [2] Perusic/Schweiner (CZE) 2:0 (21-18, 21-17)
[11] Mariafe/Clancy d [6] Gottardi/Menegatti (ITA) 2:1 (9-21, 21-16, 18-16)
[14] Nicolaidis/Carracher d [3] Boermans/De Groot (NED) 2:0 (21-18-15)

SATURDAY 25 MAY – QUARTER-FINALS
[4] George/Andre (BRA) d [14] Nicolaidis/Carracher 2:0 (21-15, 21-13)
[1] Åhman/Hellvig (SWE) d [15] Hodges/Schubert 2:0 (21-17, 21-14)

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