Veterans stun top seeds at Australian Beach Volleyball Championships Cronulla
Cronulla, Australia, March 3, 2014 - A three time Olympian and a Dane desperate to play for Australia have scored a stunning victory in the final of the Australian Beach Volleyball Championships at Cronulla.
The 36-year-old Bo Soderberg and 38-year-old Josh Slack outlasted Australian top seeds Chris McHugh and Isaac Kapa in three sets, 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 16-14).
As has been the case all summer, the men’s final was Australian beach volleyball at its best, a three-set slugfest that left nothing in the tank.
Slack and Soderberg took the opening set, with Kapa and McHugh clawing their way back to take the second.
Soderberg has been the nemesis of Kapa and McHugh all summer, teaming with Dutchman Micheal Van Dorsten to beat the top seeds on the Gold Coast, and then repeating the result in St Kilda last month.
With Van Dorsten heading home, Soderberg teamed up with the three-time Olympian Slack.
Soderberg said after the final that he would like to have another Olympic qualification programme, and hinted that he would like to pair up with Slack.
For his part Slack, who played at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics, and only just failed to qualify for London, was not ruling it out.
“You can never say never,” he said.
“While the body’s still willing you have to keep your options open.”
In the women’s final, Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy dominated the Australian Championships for the second season running.
The number one seeds went through the 2013 summer undefeated, and were clear tour leaders again this summer despite a surprise loss at Perth’s Scarborough Beach.
To get there on Sunday they had to first see off fierce rivals Becchara Palmer and Zina Stone in a semi-final.
Palmer and Bawden were partners at the London Olympics but have since gone their separate ways.
At both their meetings this summer, the latest on Sunday morning, Bawden and Clancy have reigned supreme.
It left the way clear at Cronulla for a replay of the gold medal match from St Kilda three weeks ago, with Bawden and Clancy taking on Manly’s Katie Bartoli and Pip Soulsby. And as was the case in Melbourne, the full-time professionals proved too strong for Bartoli and Soulsby, winning in straight sets 2-0 (21-15, 21-13).