Bring on the quarter finals

Bring on the quarter finals

Both NZ teams are well placed to make a medal run after a tough final pool matches at Birmingham 2022. 

Beach Blacks Brad Fuller and Sam O'Dea go into their Quarter Final top in their group, after a strong performance against English brothers Javier and Joaquin Bello.

The match was a step up in intensity against a committed home side with a noisy partisan crowd behind them, but the Beach Blacks were able to put their game plan into effect well.

"We were looking to serve more on the blocker or the right side - we had certain shots we're playing for with deep angles having watched the footage of the Bellos. We talked a little during the game, and changed who we served to, which worked quite well," said Brad Fuller.

England started the first set slightly ahead after a breathless start from both sides before Fuller and O'Dea drew level at 9-9, with some big O'Dea blocks at the net getting the team back in the game, before taking close first set 21-19.

Fuller showed some subtle touches at the net to help get out to a four point lead early in the second set with both sides scrambling on defence. The Beach Blacks took a crucial timeout late in the set before taking control to close it out 21-16.

"The crowd was the loudest I've ever been a part of, especially when they came back at us in the second set, but I think we handled it really well, taking our timeouts in situations through the match and managed to clutch the point just after, which was awesome," said Brad Fuller.

ENG Bello, Ja./Bello, Jo. 0 - 2 O'Dea S./Fuller NZL

Set 1
19 - 21

Set 2
16 - 21

Full stats

Beach Ferns Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann went toe to toe with the highly rated Canadian pair of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan with an epic first set that went all the way to 32-30.

"The first set was super long, and really fun to play. I'm really proud of us for how we, for the most part, played our own game and really established lots of our plays. Obviously it's a bit disappointing not to clinch that first set, I think it really helped their momentum going into the second," said Alice Zeimann.

The kiwis got away to a five point lead early, before Canada ate away at the deficit with some well placed spikes to get level at 15 all. From there it was point for point with the Ferns scrambling spectacularly to level at 20-20 then 22-22 before the epic point for point end to the first set.

The Canadians carried that momentum through the second set, running out 21-10 winners - but the Ferns will take heart from this performance.

"It was great to play them, they're a world class team, it really helped us to get into a game with them." said Alice Zeimann.

"It's only the first attempt so we really hope for another chance to play them."

Pavan/Melissa 2 - 0 Zeimann/Polley

Set 1
32 - 30

Set 2
21 - 10

Full stats

The Beach Blacks and Beach Ferns finish first and second in their groups, and will know their quarter final opponents at the conclusion of pool play.