Lausanne, Switzerland, February 5, 2018 - After staging its sixth men’s and fifth women’s event of the season this past week in Australia, the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will take a two-week break before resuming action in the second half of February with events in Iran and the United States.
The Iranian event will be a men’s-only 3-star tournament as the FIVB World Tour returns to Kish Island for the third-straight season with play being staged February 20-24 where a new champion will likely be crowned after the winning pairs from the first two Iran stops have not entered in the field.
Following Kish Island, the first of three 2018 Major Series events on the 2018 international beach volleyball calendar will be staged February 24-March 4 on Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in south Florida as the United States hosts the first of two events in the United States this season.
In last week’s Australian action in Shepparton, two women’s teams from the United States battled for a FIVB World Tour gold medal for the 22nd time on the FIVB World Tour as Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock defeated Caitlin Ledoux/Jace Pardon 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, and 15-12) in the 49-minute finale.
With Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann seeking to defend their Shepparton title after winning the 2017 inaugural event, the Australians were upset by Avery Drost and Chase Frishman of the United States by dropping a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) men’s gold medal match in 34 minutes.
Competing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together, Drost and Chase had to win two qualifying matches to advance to the Shepparton Open Main Draw. Only two men's teams have won FIVB World Tour gold medals after qualifying for an event's Main Draw, including Brazilians Marcio Araujo/Fabio Luiz Magalhaes (2005 Croatia Open in Zagreb) and Gustavo “Guto” Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg (2017 Porec Major in Croatia).
The Shepparton Open was also Frishman’s first-ever World Tour event as he became the ninth men’s player to win his first-ever FIVB tournament. Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos were the first gold medal winners at a men’s FIVB World Tour stop in February 1987 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The other men to net a gold medal in their first FIVB Beach Volleyball event were Kent Steffes (August 1990, Lignano, Italy), Eric Wurts (August 1990, Enoshima, Japan), Adam Johnson (February 1993, Rio de Janeiro), Mike Whitmarsh (July 1995, Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Jeff Nygaard (June 2003, Rhodes, Greece).