Australia’s number one men’s beach volleyball team, Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, have progressed to the semi-finals of the FIVB World Tour at
Volleyfest Manly Beach this afternoon.
In a nail biting all-Australian quarter final showdown, the top Aussies were pushed all the way by young guns Zac Schubert and Cole Durant.
Schubert and Durant showed the number one seeds little respect with a total domination of the first set - they could do no wrong taking it comfortably 21-12.
The experienced duo of McHugh/Schumann took a while to get going in the second set but eventually found their rhythm mid-way through the set but not without a battle. Schubert and Durant continued to snap at their heels thanks to some huge hits at the net from “The Durantula” as he’s known.
The tournament favourites got on a roll at the mid-way point to take the second set 21-14 to force the match to a deciding third set.
In the final set Schubert/Durant refused to go away challenging on every play. McHugh and Schumann showed their Volleyroos status doing enough to get the job done 15-12, claiming the match in 3 set match 2-1.
Damien Schumann admitted they felt the pressure early in the match.
“In the first set I thought it might have been beyond us, but to Chris’ credit he kept it really calm and we just took it one point at a time” said a relieved Schumann.
“One of our strengths is to stay calm, keep soldiering under immense pressure - it was a great win for us” added McHugh.
Chris McHugh paid respect to their Volleyroos team mates.
“Zac and Cole have been playing really well the last two weeks, we’re really happy we got up but it’s a real shame they’re on our side of the draw,” said McHugh.
“It’s a great week for Men’s Volleyball in Australia that we’re so competitive. We’ve got a job to do tomorrow but we are excited to get the win today.”
A gutted Durant and Schubert were disappointed but believe they are closing in on Australia’s best.
“We came out firing. We wanted it bad, we played the Australian way. We’re always chasing, you’ve just got to stay positive” said Schubert.
In other key results, the Canadian men’s team are also through to the semi-finals where they’ll face the U.S.A and Australia will take on France. Australia’s two top women’s teams finished today’s pool matches by beating Japan and Slovenia.
Today’s full competition results and rankings available at: http://worldtour.2018.fivb.com/en/553