Shepparton, Australia, February 2, 2018 – Women’s main draw pool play at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Shepparton event began with three matches held in each of the four pools on Friday.
Of the four teams that failed to make the single eliminations cut, three were Australian. One host country pair, however, remains in contention.
The four pool winners, who will advance directly to the quarterfinals, will become known on Saturday.
Pool A started with two exciting three-setters. Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu took on top-seeded Shaunna Marie Polley and Kelsie Wills from New Zealand in the match for the first place. The third place in the pool, and the spot in the first single elimination round that goes with it, went to Japan’s Yukako Suzuki and Kaho Sakaguchi after a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win against Australian wildcards Tamsin Hinchley and Christine Jenkins.
Three straight-set games were played in Pool B, with second-seeded Australians Phoebe Bell and Jessyka Ngauamo pleasing the home fans with a 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) victory over Japan’s Yui Nagata and Minori Kumada.
The two shortest matches of the day took place in this pool. The other main draw wildcards, Laite Nima and Iliseva Ratudina from Fiji, were on the losing side in both of them – first against USA’s Jace Pardon and Caitlin Ledoux, and then against Nagata and Kumada in the survival match.
The longest running match of the day was in Pool C. After losing the first set against Australia’s Brittany Kendall and Stefanie Weiler, Japan’s Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori fought back for a 46-minute 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-11) victory and will meet Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini for the first place in the pool.
The other Japanese pair in this group, Chiyo Suzuki and Reika Murakami, also advanced to the elimination rounds after delivering a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) shutout of Kendall and Weiler in the losers’ clash.
USA’s Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock and the Netherlands’ Katja Stam and Julia Wouters will fight for the top honours in Pool D and a spot in the quarterfinals after claiming straight-set victories over Australia’s Sabine Mills and Jordan Mowen and New Zealand’s Alice Bain and Julia Tilley, respectively. The New Zealanders disappointed the home crowd in Victoria Park as they managed a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win against Mills and Mowen, eliminating the Australian duo from further participation.