Top Australian teams look strong at World Champs
TOP AUSTRALIAN TEAMS REMAIN IN CONTENTION AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Australia’s top men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams could not have been more impressive as they cruised into the final 16 at the World Championships in The Netherlands overnight.
Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy have taken the strong form they have shown on the World Tour this year into these World Championships, underlined by a 21-18, 21-14 win over Swiss pair Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre.
And Chris McHugh and Isaac Kapa made short work of Venezuala’s Jackson Henriquez and Jesus Villafane 21-12, 21-15.
Both pairs face big challenges in their next matches later tonight if they are to make it through to the quarter finals.
Bawden and Clancy will take on Dutch top seeds and home-town favourites, Marleen Van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink.
But while the Dutch pair are ranked number one at the World Championships and the Australians 17th, Bawden and Clancy are ranked higher (seventh) on current World Tour rankings, compared to Van Iersel and Meppelink’s eighth.
McHugh and Kapa, the tournament and World Tour-ranked 23rd seeds, will take on Brazilian third seeds, Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
The Brazilians have a current world tour ranking of 14.
Australia’s other remaining pairing after the pool play, Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Nikki Laird, ended their World Championships campaign with a 21-18, 21-17 loss to Brazilian second seeds, Larissa Franca Maestrini and Talita da Rocha Antunes.
Perfect start for top Australian teams at beach worlds
PERFECT START FOR AUSTRALIA’S TOP TEAMS AT BEACH WORLD TITLES
Australia’s top ranked men’s and women’s teams both remain undefeated after two matches at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in The Netherlands.
Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh recorded strong wins against teams from Kazakhstan and New Zealand, while Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy dropped their first set again Paraguay but have been in ruthless form ever since.
In something of a shock the unheralded Paraguayans took the opening set off Bawden and Clancy 21-17, which woke the Australians from their slumber.
They breezed through the second set 21-8, and then blew their opponents off the court 15-1 in the decider.
Kapa and McHugh are yet to drop a set in The Netherlands, posting a 21-18, 21-12 result over Kazakhstan, before seeing off the highly rated New Zealand pair of Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea 21-19, 21-17.
Both teams face their toughest test in pool play in their next matches, with Kapa and McHugh taking on Americans Ryan Doherty and John Mayer, while Bawden and Clancy face a showdown with Spanish seventh seeds Liliana Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo.
Bawden and Clancy came into the World Championships seeded 19th, but have a current world ranking in the top ten after a series of strong world tour results.
Kapa and McHugh are seeded 22nd in The Netherlands.
In other Australian results, Josh Court and Damien Schumann have suffered two losses in their first two matches, losing to Brazil and Austria in straight sets.
And Australia’s World Under 23 champions, Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, were beaten by Canada in their only match of the tournament so far.
Algeria wears down brave Australia
ALGERIA TOO STRONG FOR AUSTRALIA AT GRAND PRIX
Australia has finished its first leg of this year’s World Women’s Volleyball Grand Prix series without a win, but confident of better results next weekend.
The Australians lost to Algeria 3-0 in Kazakhstan, after losing to Kazakhstan and Cuba by the same scoreline in the opening matches.
Sophie Godfrey was once again the stand-out performer for the Volleyroos, finishing with nine points, including several blocks in a tight opening set that Australia controlled for long periods.
The final score saw Algeria win 25-19, 25-22, 25-13.
“They played a very good game, they kept the ball on us, and we unfortunately made just too many errors to keep within their pace,” coach Mark Barnard said.
“They served well while we didn’t pass very well, and that really hurt us. I, as a coach, would need to prepare the team well, and make them play the matches well.”
Australia heads to Algeria next weekend to play the host nation, plus Kenya and Mexico, before heading home to Canberra to host the group three finals.
Captain Shae Sloane says the team needs to be realistic about the challenges ahead of it.
“It was a really good game, and they were too strong for us in the end,” she said.
“We were disappointed with how we played in the last set and I think it only shows we have a lot of work to do between now and our matches in Algeria next weekend.”