Piggott, Walker amongst Aussie charge through Beach Pro Tour qualifying
Geelong Beach Volleyfest continued at Rippleside Beach today with men’s and women’s qualification taking place for the Beach Pro Tour event.
At the end of the day, four Australian teams have managed to win their way through to the main draw which will be played out over the next four days.
In the women’s draw, Bailee Kendall and Ruby Vanloo accounted for Japanese duo Ami Shirahata and Nayu Motomura to take their place in the 16-team draw.
Those victories will see five Australian women’s team take on an international field, with Jasmine Fleming and Georgia Johnson leading the way as the second seeds.
In the men’s draw, Perth Steel duo Daniel Piggott and Jed Walker entered qualifying as the bottom ranked team but continued their impressive week by claiming back-to-back wins to progress into the pool stage.
Piggott, the Scape Australian Volleyball Super League-winning captain, and Walker, the Grand Final MVP, made it through to the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour quarter-finals last week in their first tournament together, knocking out the fourth seeds along the way.
Today they faced off against Geelong local Jack Gregory and Victoria’s Patrick Tang in the preliminary phase, coming away with a 2:0 victory.
That result set up a second round encounter with Japan’s Nassim Malki and Ryuichi Adachi where for a place in the main draw was at stake.
“In the second round of the qualifier we had Japan who are always a good, crafty team but I think we just handled the wind really well,” said Walker. “We kept to our side and things just ran smoothly and we played really, really well so super stoked to be going through to the main draw.”
Having won that match – again in straight sets – Piggott said their newly-formed combination was working well and they enter the pool stage with nothing to lose.
“Jed and I have only just combined as a partnership and I think every game we learn a lot about each other,” he said. “Expectations are low, but hunger is very high
We didn’t come to just take part; we want to win some games and hopefully we can do that and for the rest of the Beach Pro Tour, have a red hot crack.”
Piggott and Walker were not the only Australian men to progress, with Australian Beach Volleyball Tour bronze medallists Josh Howat and Harley Sinclair advancing along with Garang Anyang and Justin Schumann to see seven local teams in the main draw.
The Beach Pro Tour continues on Thursday at Geelong Beach Volleyfest when pool matches will commence from 10am AEDT.