MacDonald/Quigley head NZ contingent

Six Kiwis were in Beach Pro Tour Futures action in the Philippines over the weekend with Olivia MacDonald and Danielle Quigley finishing in fourth place.

Entering the event as the fourth seeds, the duo won both of their Pool D matches over Japan (Sakai/Kicuchi) and the host nation pairing from the Philippines (Eslapor/Orillaneda).

The Kiwi duo then accounted for Swedes Maneskold and Bergholm in the quarter-finals, with a 21-18, 21-19 victory. The semi-finals brought the first defeat of the event with second-seeded Germans Chenoa Christ and Anna-Lena Grune advancing to the final via a 21-17, 23-21 win.

MacDonald and Quigley started strongly in the bronze medal match against Japanese sixth seeds Riko Tsujimura and Takemi Nishibori, taking the first set 21-14. But the Japanese due responded and took the match in three sets, 21-15 and 15-12 in the third.

Also in the women's event, Kiwis Katie Sadlier and Meile-Rose Green reached the last eight before losing 21-18, 21-15 to Christ and Grune. Having dropped one and won one of their two Pool A matches, the Kiwis advanced to the Round of 12 and beat Eslapor and Orillaneda in three sets to reach the quarter-finals.

On the men's side of the event James Sadlier and Juraj Krajci qualified for the main draw via a 21-19, 21-19 win over a Swedish pair before dropping both Pool B matches. Their first was a tight three-set defeat to tournament second seeds Semerad/Stocek of the Czech Republic before falling to the seventh-seeded Turkish combination of Yusuf/Batuhan. 

Futures gold for Reid/McManaway

New Zealand combination Tom Reid and Jack McManaway claimed their first Beach Pro Tour gold medal on Sunday at the Futures event held in Pirae, Tahiti.

Ranked 52 in the world, the Kiwi duo were the top-seeded combination heading into the event and they delivered on their billing, seeing off Japan’s Takumi Takahashi and Jumpei Ikeda 21-18, 21-18 in the final.

Earlier on Sunday, Reid and McManaway qualified for the gold medal match with a 21-9, 21-17 victory over the Ukrainian pair of Ivan Datsiuk and Ivan Likhatskyi.

After finishing second in Pool A, the Kiwis ousted Americans Mark Bucknam and Alex Ukkelberg on Saturday in the Round of 12 clash before edging Serbian sixth seeds Djordje Klasnic and Nemanja Komar 21-19, 21-19 later in the day in the last eight.

Reid and McManaway now move to the Asian Beach Tour with an event in Thailand next weekend.

Meanwhile, Oliva MacDonald and Danielle Quigley reached the quarter-finals of the Nuvali Open in the Philippines on the Asian Beach Tour.

The New Zealanders were beaten by Japanese combination Suzuka/Reika in the last eight, the same combination also accounting for Kiwis Katie Sadlier and Meile-Rose Green in the Round of 16.

James Sadlier and Juraj Krajci lost both their Pool B matches on the men’s side of the draw.           

All three New Zealand pairings will play in the Beach Pro Tour Futures event in the Philippines this week.

Kiwis battle hard in Brazil

Kiwis Brad Fuller and Ben O’Dea battled hard in the Saquarema Challenge event on Saturday (NZ time), two very tight three-set losses seeing the duo exit the competition at the pool stage.

After qualifying for the main draw on Friday, Fuller and O’Dea opened their Pool A schedule with the first match of the day on Centre Court against Brazil’s Pedro Solberg/Guto, ranked 15 in the world.

The Kiwis dropped the first set 18-21 before levelling in the second by the same score. The third set was again evenly-matched before the Brazilian combination eventually claimed a 20-18 result.

Backing up in their next match, Fuller and O’Dea then faced world number 21 American duo Schalk and Bourne. The Kiwis took the tight first set 26-24 before the Americans recovered for a 21-18 second set win. The USA team completed the job in the third set - 15-12.

New Zealand’s Fuller & O’Dea and women’s combination Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann now move to the Asian Tour in Thailand for April 13.

Several other Kiwi duos are in action next week on the Asian Tour in the Philippines – Olivia MacDonald/Danielle Quigley, Katie Sadlier/Meile Green and Juraj Krajci/James Sadlier.

On Friday, two Kiwi pairs were in action in qualifying:

- Ben O'Dea and Brad Fuller won their two matches to qualify - seeing off Estonia in their first game before advancing with a 2-0 victory over a French combination.

- Alice Zeimann & Shaunna Polley took care of Argentina in 3 sets in their first match before falling to a Canadian pair in their second game.

Silver for Nicklin / Fuller in China

Beach Blacks Alani Nicklin and Brad Fuller claimed a silver medal in the Beach Pro Tour Futures event in Wenzhou Cangnan, China on Sunday.

After a 2-0 win over an Iranian pair in the semi-final, the Kiwi pair met top seeded home combination of Jaixin Wu and Likejiang Ha, the Chinese pair claiming gold with a 21-15, 21-17 victory.

The second New Zealand team at the event, Tom Reid and Jack McManaway, were edged in three sets by Wu and Likejiang in the quarter-finals. 

 

Sam O'Dea calls time

 

After almost 15 years of international competition, Beach Blacks player Sam O'Dea has called time on his international career in beach volleyball.

O'Dea penned an open letter to the volleyball community to confirm his decision after competing in the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

 

After close to 15 years of international competition, I’ve decided to hang up the boots or more appropriately the sunnies, cap and shorts. 

I could have never imagined the journey I’ve had playing volleyball, the places, the people, and the huge highs and lows over the years. 

It's been an epic journey with memories I'll have for the rest of my life. As much as I still love competing, I have many other things that I want to do in my life that I cannot do while still playing.

I want to plant my feet on the ground for a while, experience some colder months and follow some other dreams I have. 

There have been many people that have had a huge impact on my career, coaches, partners, sponsors, supporters and organisations that have allowed me to follow my dreams and I will be forever grateful to them. 

Knowing when to leave is hard, it's a big decision and a very personal one. I hope that during my time I have represented New Zealand well and I leave the sport in a better place.

VNZ High Performance Coach Jason Lochhead acknowledged O’Dea’s retirement comes after an outstanding commitment to his own development and the game in New Zealand for more than a decade.

“Sam has devoted himself to beach volleyball over a long period and achieved some outstanding results for himself, his team-mates and his country on the international stage,” Lochhead said.

“He is an incredibly talented player, but we understand that he is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life. 

“I’ve really valued working with him and he’s produced some great performances on the FIVB World Tour. On behalf of everyone in the New Zealand volleyball community, we wish him well for the future and what’s to come.”

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