Shepparton, Australia, February 2, 2018 – By the whim of fate, two Australian brothers, Damien Schumann and Justin Schumann, were on opposite sides of the net on the first competition day in the men’s main draw in Shepparton.
The 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour one-star event ended for eight of the participants and the younger Schumann failed to progress, as three Australian and one Canadian team finished bottom of their pools.
Top-seeded Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann and bottom-seeded Justin Schumann/Mitchell Wakefield played against each other in the first Pool A match. It was very competitive, but the result was as expected – 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) for the higher ranked team.
Schumann/Wakefield went on to suffer another defeat in the match for the third place in the pool – 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) to Canada’s Sergiy Grabovskyy and Fiodar Kazhamiaka, who had conceded a tough 46-minute 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 15-10) loss to Sweden’s Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman in what proved to be the longest running match of the day.
“It’s just like super fun and exciting," said Justin Schumann. "That’s all I can describe it as. It’s special. I was surprised with each point we won, put it that way.” Justin is 10 years younger than his brother Damien.
“I watched him grow up from a little baby. To see him qualify yesterday was awesome. To be playing him today was nerve-wracking, but it was really special. We were all nice before we went on the court, but as soon as the whistle started the match, you're just trying as hard as you can to win every point,” added Damien.
The only other tie-breaker of the day came in Pool B. Thailand’s Surin Jongklang and Adisorn Khaolumtarn lost by 2-1 (21-23, 21-14, 15-9) to Germany’s Armin Dollinger and Simon Kulzer, but still made the next round with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) win against Canada’s Felipe Humana-Paredes and Cameron Wheelan for the third place in the pool. The Germans will face second-seeded Australians Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake.
USA’s Chase Frishman and James Avery Drost and Hong Kong’s Pui Lam Wong and Tsz Ho Kelvin Lau shut out their opponents in the first-leg matches of Pool C. In the losers’ showdown, wildcards Inia Korowale and Nacanieli Elliot from Fiji upset third-seeded Australians Paul Burnett and Joshua Court with a 2-0 (23-21, 21-17) straight-setter.
Fiji’s Nacanieli Elliot about to serve
In Pool D, the first place will be decided between New Zealand’s Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour and USA’s Eric Zaun and Adam Roberts. In the survival match, Thailand’s Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud added to the Australian casualties with a hard-earned 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) victory over Marcus Ferguson and Maximilian Guehrer.
Saturday’s main draw action at Victoria Park Lake will resume with the first-place duels in the pools to be followed by the first direct elimination round and the quarterfinals, leaving the semis and the medal matches for the grand finale on Sunday.