Hodges & Schubert Win Jurmala Beach Pro Tour Gold
Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert brought their fairy-tale campaign at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge to a happy end overnight, winning their first gold medal on the Tour.
Starting the tournament as the 12th seeded team in the qualification bracket and moving on as the 20th seed in the 24-team men’s main draw, the Australians won eight consecutive matches in Latvia, five of them in tie-breaker clashes, to triumph on top of the podium.
In addition to this historic gold, Hodges & Schubert have two silvers and a bronze from their 2022 Beach Pro Tour campaign.
Two Brazilian duos completed the podium. Top-seeded Andre Stein & George Wanderley took the silver, their fifth medal on the Tour so far, as well as second from Jurmala alone, after their bronze from the 2022 Elite16 event in the Latvian city. FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship 2022 silver medallists Renato Lima & Vitor Felipe finally made it to their first Beach Pro Tour podium by winning the bronze in Jurmala on Sunday.
In the first set of the gold medal match, Andre & George established total control on the court and cruised to an emphatic win 21-10.
The second set was quite competitive through 15-14 Brazil’s way, when Hodges & Schubert broke away with four points in a row, before Schubert hammered two back-to-back aces to close the set 21-16, and level the score.
After 8-8 in the tie-breaker, the Aussies went on a five-point run and never looked back. It was Schubert again, who delivered the championship winner with a spike kill for 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 15-12). Andre’s fantastic tally of nine kill blocks within a match-high 26 points did not suffice to stain the finale of Hodges & Schubert’s fairy tale. Hodges himself produced 23 points, including four blocks and two aces, while Schubert finished with 16.
“It’s pretty incredible!” exclaimed Hodges after the final. “We decided to play it game by game. Every game in qualification was tough, and then in pool play and each different phase was just one game at a time.
“That’s how we played and I think it showed down there on the court. It’s amazing! We stuck at it.
“We knew we were playing good volleyball and when some of the games didn’t go our way, we just had to keep playing, game by game, point by point, and we got there.”
“The crowd really helped us get back into the game,” added Schubert. “This amazing crowd has been here all day, supporting us, cheering, and we couldn’t have done without them.”
Earlier in the day, Hodges & Schubert had another three-set battle with a 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 15-12) victory over Brazil’s Vitor Felipe & Renato. Hodges raised six kill blocks to add to 17 successful spikes and an ace towards a match high of 24 points.
Fellow Aussies Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis placed 17th in Jurmala, after ending their run in the round of 18. Chris McHugh / Paul Burnett and Georgia Johnson / Jasmine Fleming also competed in Latvia, but didn’t advance past the Preliminary Phase.
See all results HERE