McHugh and Schumann fire up to book spot in top 16

Australia’s Damien Schumann and Chris McHugh have stormed into the final 16 at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships after a fiery 2-0 win over USA on Thursday.

After taking the opening set 21-19, the Australians fought back from 17-19 down, and then saved six set points, to beat Americans Jacob Gibb and Taylor Crabb 21-19, 28-26.

“The tournament so far has been amazing,” McHugh said.

“Every game is so, so tough. I don’t think we really had any expectations. We’ve been slowly progressing this year and to be in the top 10 is for sure a goal.

“We don’t want to put a roof on anything, we just want to keep punching through and see what happens. We play a different game to everybody else out here. Jake’s a really good player and has been for a long time.

“We can play with anybody in the world on our day and Damien passed really well so I could hit from all parts of the court. All the teams in the world are aware of what we do and it’s up to them to stop it.”

The win sets Schumann and McHugh up for a top-16 clash with another American team, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.

Schumann said the win overnight was a career highlight.

“Oh, definitely,” he said.

“Those Americans. Jake Gibb’s got experience and Taylor’s obviously a jet as well. So to get over the top of them in a close game is a massive, massive win for us.

“I believe we’ve been fairly consistent for most of the year, and we’re going to get better each time we play.”

Tempers became frayed in the scorching temperatures during the second set, with McHugh earning himself a red card after a run-in with an official.

“I have to apologize to the officials for that,” he said.

“It’s not the spirit of the game, it’s certainly not the way Australia wants to be seen.

“It’s a cooker out here, emotions are definitely running high, it’s the World Championships, everybody wants to win.”