Xiamen, China, April 22, 2017 – USA’s Ryan Doherty and James Avery Drost came together for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Open 2017 in the absence of their usual partners.
Despite limited practice time before entering their first tournament playing as a team, Doherty/Drost beat China’s strongest men’s team Ha Likejiang and Bao Jian before meeting Australia’s Christoph McHugh and Damien Schumann in the round of sixteen.
Doherty/Drost beat the Shepparton gold medallists McHugh/Schumann in straight sets to enter the quarterfinal, 2-0 (21-18, 21-19).
“I feel really calm, just like the first match. I just had to keep myself under control and then Ryan made the play to score points. If we just handled the ball on our side and didn’t make errors and Ryan always found a way to score a big point when we needed it,” said Drost.
“That’s a great team, I’ve had some battles with Chris McHugh for years now and they went on a really interested offence, super aggressive, serve real tough, so that’s a big win for us. This is our first tournament together, to be able to get to the quarterfinals, fifth place match, that’s pretty big,” said Doherty.
Both Doherty and Drost’s usual partners were unable to make it to Xiamen, so the two paired up for the trip east and are happy with the results.
“We’ve got a few practices in, maybe four of five throughout the past three weeks or so. My regular partner couldn’t make it out here, Avery’s partner couldn’t either so we just tried to join forces and so far it’s working real well, as a team two, nil, we’ll take that,” said Doherty.
“It’s been great for me, it was a great opportunity for me to get picked by Ryan for this tournament, his regular partner, obviously John Hyden who’s a great player. At home my regular partner (Robbie Page) is also a big guy about Ryan’s size, so there wasn’t an adjustment to playing with someone his size, that felt natural and in some ways we play a similar type of game to our regular partners. I like his mentality, it keeps me really calm on the court, he’s a good partner for me,” said Drost. https://twitter.com/FIVBBeach/status/855646466232037376
“I’m not a huge goal setter, I’ve never been that in my life, so we wanted to come out and compete. We’ve played well and if you play well and lose it’s not the worst in the world, that’s what you hope for as a volleyball player. So far we’ve put together two pretty solid matches against two really good teams so we’re really happy with that, but obviously if we can get to semifinals and the podium that would be really great,” said Doherty. Quick links - Beach volleyball:
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