Ferns fall in semi-final

The Beach Ferns Olympic dream is over after Saturday night’s tense semi-final loss to Continental Cup hosts China in Ningbo.

Oliva Macdonald and Danielle Quigley were beaten 21-11, 21-13 by Sh. T. Cao/Zhu Lingdi before Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley got Aotearoa on the board with a 21-18, 21-18 win over J. Zh. Wang/J. Dong.

The decisive third match saw Zeimann and Polley faced up to Sh. T. Cao/J. Dong for a berth in the final against Japan.

In a very tight contest, the Chinese took the first set 23-21 before the Kiwis rebounded to edge the second set 24-22. The match could have gone either way in a see-saw third set, but the hosts eventually prevailed 15-13.

China progress to the final against Japan for a berth at the Paris Olympics.

The Beach Ferns reached the semi-final thanks to a 2-0 victory over Vanuatu on Friday. Olivia Macdonald and Danielle Quigley were first-up 21-15, 21-15 winners over Joe/Matauatu before Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley claimed a 21-17, 21-17 victory over Toko/Lawac.

Beach Blacks

The Beach Blacks’ hopes of Olympic qualification ended on Friday after a 2-1 loss to Indonesia.

Brad Fuller and Ben O'Dea fought hard in the decider of the Beach Blacks' Continental Cup quarter-final but ultimately fell 2-1 to Indonesia on Friday night.

The Kiwis battled back from a set down, claiming a thrilling second set 26-24 but Bintang/Sofyan clinched a place in the semi-final for their country with a 15-11 third-set win.

Earlier, O’Dea and Fuller were 2-0 winners in their match with Jack McManaway and Tom Reid edged 2-1 in their clash to set up the decider.

The men’s final will be contested between Australia and China.

High Performance Coach Jason Lochhead said "sport can be brutal, but if it wasn't then the wins wouldn't feel as good.

"I'm proud of the effort everyone put into this run. We played some great volleyball but just a couple of things didn't go our way and sometimes it's just not your day.

"It hurts that it was on this day but we will come back stronger."


NZ takes aim at Olympic spots

New Zealand takes aim at a spot at the Paris Olympics in beach volleyball on Friday with the Beach Ferns and Beach Blacks in action in Phase 3 of the Continental Cup in China.

The event, held in Ningbo, is the last phase of the qualification journey within the Asian Volleyball Confederation where both teams will compete in a playoff bracket format with eight nations involved.

The winning country in each gender will qualify via the FIVB pathway for a place at the Paris Olympics in July-August.

New Zealand’s last appearance at the Olympic Games came in 1996 in Atlanta – the Hamilton Brothers Glenn and Reid flying the flag for Aotearoa. A women’s team have never qualified for the Olympics.

Both teams have been working hard to earn the fern for the games with a recent training block in Los Angeles and Head Coach Jason Lochhead says the preparation for the group has been excellent.

“Being in LA training in deep sand and warm climate was great for our teams,” Lochhead said.

“They all feel like they're flying around the courts. Training for the men, the highlight ones were the Crabb/Sanders team and the number one USA combo of Benesh/Partain who are going to the Olympics.

“The women got to train against Tokyo Gold medallists Ross/Klineman and Scoles/Flint. With a bunch of other USA teams in there as well.

“We wanted to get our players a look at as many different styles as possible to get them making in game adjustments.

“Our squad is confident and ready to get after this final stage and make history.”

You can follow the action from China via streaming coverage here:

- Centre Court
- Court 2

Volleyball New Zealand thanks both FIVB (coach support) and High Performance Sport NZ (programme support) for the Olympic qualification campaign.

Beach Ferns & Beach Blacks - Continental Cup 2024
Ningbo, China
June 21-23

Beach Ferns

  • Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley
  • Olivia Macdonald and Danielle Quigley

Beach Blacks

  • Jack McManaway and Thomas Reid
  • Ben O’Dea and Bradley Fuller

Management staff
Head Coach: Jason Lochhead
Assistant Coach: Craig Seuseu
Physiotherapist: Brad Takai


Kiwis earn medals in Thailand

Two Kiwi combos claimed medals on Tuesday at the Asian Beach Volleyball Tour stop in Songkhla, Thailand.

Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann took the silver medal, falling in a tight three-set battle 21-13, 18-21, 13-15 to Australians Johnson/Fleming.

Earlier in the day, the Kiwi number one combination were too good for Australians Fejes/Milutinovic, claiming a 21-17, 21-14 victory to advance to the final.

Polley and Zeimann won all three of their Pool D matches before further victories over Vanuatu's Toko/Joe (21-7, 21-10) and Indonesian pair Desi/Nur Atika (21-15, 21-17) put the NZ number 1 pair into the medal round.

On the men’s side, Tom Reid and Jack McManaway claimed their second medal in as many events, earning bronze with a three-set victory over Thailand’s Pithak/Poravid (18-21, 21-15, 15-9).

The Kiwis were beaten 21-17, 21-15 by Burnett/Pearse (Australia) in the semi-finals.

Reid and McManaway topped Pool F with three wins before seeing off Qatar pair Ahmed/Ihab 21-19, 21-17 then advancing to the last four with a 21-19, 21-14 victory over Australia's Nicolaidis/Carracher.

After topping Pool H, Brad Fuller and Ben O'Dea beat Australian's Hood/Potts in three sets before falling to Japan's Takahashi/Ikeda 19 and 15.

Attention now turns to the Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in China later this month with two men’s combinations entered into qualifying (O’Dea/Fuller and Nicklin/McManaway) while Polley and Zeimann will also be in the women’s qualifying field.


NZ teams take Oceania Continental Cup titles

The Beach Blacks and Beach Ferns made a major step in the qualification process for the Paris Olympic Games over the weekend, winning the Continental Cup Oceania Zone Championships in Vanuatu.

The Beach Ferns duos of Alice Zeimann and Olivia Macdonald and Kiana Stevenson and Maria Hanabadi saw off Vanuatu in the final while the Beach Blacks combinations of Brad Fuller and Alani Nicklin and Tom Reid and Jack McManaway also beat the host nation in the final matches.

The weekend's results see New Zealand qualify through to the final phase of Olympic qualification held during 2024.


Kiwis set for Asian Beach Championships

Ten Kiwis will represent their country at the Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in China later this week.

In the women’s competition, Alice Zeimann has a chance for back-to-back titles after winning the 2023 event with Shaunna Polley.

This time around Zeimann will be paired with Olivia Macdonald with Polley recovering from injury.

New Zealand Junior Indoor captain Rosa Vesty and Kiana Stevenson complete the women’s contingent.

In the men’s competition, G.J. Gardner Homes NZ Beach Tour champions Tom Reid and Jack McManaway pair up again on the world stage.

Alani Nicklin and James Sadlier will play together with Ben O’Dea back in the mix with Thomas Hartles.

Volleyball New Zealand Beach High Performance Coach Jason Lochhead says the event is a critical one for the players looking to move up the international pecking order.

“The Asian Champs is always a big event for us, the best teams in Asia are always there,” Lochhead said.

“This is our chance to show how strong we are and test ourselves with some great FIVB points up for grabs."

The competition gets under on June 23 in Fuzhou, China.

Senior Asian Beach Volleyball Championships 2023
June 23-26
Fuzhou, China

Thomas Reid
Jack McManaway
James Sadlier
Alani Nicklin
Ben O’Dea
Thomas Hartles

Alice Zeimann
Olivia Macdonald
Kiana Stevenson
Rosa Vesty

Support Staff
Jason Lochhead – Coach
Craig Seuseu – Coach
Brad Takai – Physiotherapist
Josh Cox - Mental Skills Coach

Volleyball New Zealand | Poirewa Aotearoa
Oceania Volleyball
Volleyball New Zealand Inc
Sports House, Stadium Drive,
Albany, Auckland, New Zealand