Shepparton, Australia, March 5, 2017 - After a decade of playing beach volleyball against each other, Australia's Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann have teamed up to win Australia's first FIVB World Tour gold medal since 2001.
McHugh and Schumann were too strong for fellow Australians Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert in the final of the one-star event in Shepparton, regional Victoria.
The pair have come together because their regular playing partners are both injured, but Schumann said he was enjoying playing with his former nemesis.
"For one thing it's much nicer being on this side of the net and not having to try and avoid his missiles," Schumann said.
"I'm really enjoying playing with Chris. We'll head to Manly to play in the Four Nations event and then we'll play a couple of more tournaments together."
McHugh was in his first tournament since surgery late last year, and said the body was feeling good.
"It's been a few months of recovery now, and it feels really good," he said.
"Damien and I have been playing against each other since we were about 16, so we’ve finally got a chance to come together to see what we can do."
For Durant and Schubert, a combination that came together post-Rio 2016 Olympics, the final was a case of missed opportunities.
They gave plenty of cheek early in the opening set, but after reaching an 11-10 lead, McHugh was able to string together three consecutive points to wrest control of the set, eventually finishing 21-18.
The second set followed a similar course, with Schubert and Durant fighting their way to a 7-4 lead, but that quickly became 8-10. Despite a late fightback they were unable to arrest the run of McHugh and Schumann, eventually losing 21-18.
Oceania completed the podium with New Zealand's O'Dea brothers, Sam and Ben, taking bronze over USA's Adam Roberts and Martin Lorenz.
The New Zealanders had a point to prove, having lost their semifinal clash in three sets to Durant and Schubert.
With Sam O'Dea once again providing a menacing presence at the net the New Zealanders took control of the opening set early, their power game guiding them to 21-12.
A collection of strong early blocks from Lorenz gave the Americans some early hope in the second set, but the New Zealanders soon wrested back control, taking the second set and the bronze medal, 21-14.Quick links - Beach volleyball:
Shepparton 1-Star - Website
Shepparton 1-Star - Schedule and results
Shepparton 1-Star - Teams - Men
Shepparton 1-Star - Teams - WomenFIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach VolleyballFIVB.com - Beach VolleyballFIVB.com
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