Nicolaidis and Carracher win first ABVT title
In hot and windy conditions on Mollymook beach, third seeds Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher have upset the Tour Leaders Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett to win gold at the inaugural Mollymook Australian Beach Volleyball Tour.
it was a replay of the Cobram ABVT final two weeks ago, which the 2021 Asian Champions McHugh and Burnett won in straight sets.
However it was Nicolaidis and Carracher who were able to keep calm under pressure and adapt to the gusty conditions on Mollymook Beach to take the win 2-0 (21-15, 24-22).
The duo have had several quarterfinal and semifinal attempts over the years with different partners, but this year marks their first full season as teammates – a partnership that’s clearly working as Cobram’s silver medal was the first National Tour medal for both athletes, which they bettered today.
“It’s awesome, we’ve been grinding the tour for a few years now and we had an opportunity in Cobram but couldn’t get the job done,” Carracher said.
“To come up against a talented side that has won Asian Champs and has an Olympic Games player, and to get the win is an awesome achievement, we’re stoked and couldn’t be happier.
“We’ve been trying to play together for a few years now but covid seemed to be doing us dirty, so to have the opportunity to come out this year, have a good preparation and really get some results under our belt is awesome.”
Coming into the gold-medal match as the underdogs, Nicolaidis said the windy conditions worked more in their favour than for their taller opposition.
“Today is the windiest it’s been all weekend so you do have to change your game style a bit, and it was more to our advantage as we run pretty small and quick so the wind can’t grab the ball a lot.
“But as you saw today, it was just lights out for both teams on the service line, a few more errors but a lot more aces.
“Today was so much fun, we play out best when we’re having fun and most of our games this weekend we just had smiles on our face the whole time, and that’s the energy we want to take into the next few events.”
Earlier in the day, the Men’s bronze medal match saw Max Guehrer and Thomas Hodges take the win against James Takken and Mateus Zieba, 2-0 (21-18, 21-16).
“It was an epic battle out there, it’s always fun to play against Takken and Mateaus,” Hodges said.
“We train with Takken, so it’s always good to play against him and Mateus is an absolute competitor for Poland so it’s tough matching up against them and we’re stoked to come away with the win.”
Guehrer and Hodges had to quickly bounce back from an epic 3-set battle loss (11-21, 21-17, 16-18) against Carracher and Nicolaidis in the semi-final.
It felt like deja vu for the #2 seeds, as they lost to Carracher and Nicolaidis in the semi final and finished 4th in Cobram two weeks earlier, but the duo were determined to not make the same mistakes and let the bronze slip out of their hands.
“A couple of weeks ago, we didn’t do the best job at bouncing back from that semi-final loss,” Guehrer said.
“So there was a really big focus this week on really resetting and focusing on the basics and not getting too complicated with how we’re going to do things. It worked out well today, we put all the things out there that we wanted to.”
“We made a step forward this tournament and we’re looking to make another step forward next tournament and make it into that gold-medal match,” Hodges added.
The Australian Beach Volleyball Tour will now make its way to Manly, NSW on 4 – 6 March for the third stop of the ABVT, which doubles as the 2022 Australian Championships.
See all results HERE
Replay all the Mollymook ABVT Centre Court Matches HERE