Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea will begin their 2015 World Championships campaign over the weekend. The tournament, which is being held in the Netherlands, will be split over 4 different cities. This is new concept for beach volleyball and will see Mike and Sam play their pool matches in Amsterdam.
The first matches of the tournament are on Friday night local time, with NZL scheduled to take the court against USA at 7am Sunday (New Zealand time). The USA team they were scheduled to play were the daunting Dalhausser/Rosenthal combination, but due to an injury to that team the replacement team is the far less experience Doherty/Mayer.
Mike and Sam’s other 2 pool matches are against teams they know very well from the Asian Tour, on Sunday night at Midnight they will face McHugh/Kapa from Australia, then Monday night at 10pm they will battle Sidorenko/Dyachenko from Kazakhstan.
Mike Watson says “Sam and I have been working really hard in preparation for the World Champs. We both feel we are ready to take on the biggest tournament of our careers’ and make New Zealand proud!”
The 48 teams per gender at the World Champs have been split equally into 12 pools of four teams, with the top two teams from each pool automatically advancing to the first knockout round, along with the eight best third-ranked teams (based on match points, sets ratio and points ratio). This sets up a single elimination 32 team draw, where the team could be relocated to another of the 4 host cities.
New Zealand will also continue our fine representation at the top level in coaching. Jason Lochhead, since retiring from full time international competition, has been coaching a number of top teams, and he will be looking after the Vanuatu Women’s team of Pata / Manauatu, and the Canadian Men’s team of Schalk / Saxton. This will be a tough job considering they are playing in different towns for pool play.
Lochhead and partner Kirk Pitman have had an excellent World Champs record themselves, regularly out performing their seeding at their 4 visits to the pinnacle bi-annual event. In 2005 they finished 25th, in 2007 & 2011 they finished 17th and in 2009 they had a career highlight finishing 9th.
Follow the teams’ results at FIVB.com or https://www.facebook.com/odeawatson?fref=ts