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Pool play begins at Ohope Open

Sam O'Dea and Michael Watson represented New Zealand at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015
Ohope, New Zealand, January 6, 2015 - The sun was out for the first day of the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Tour Ohope Open. Teams from around New Zealand were joined by German, Canadian and Japanese internationals. With a few upsets in pool play, spectators were sitting on the edge of their seats, and living each point.

The top Japan Men’s team were upset by North Harbour talent Jesse Hawkins and Alani Nicklin in two sets 2-0 (21-18, 21–19). Katsuhiro Shiratori and Yuya Ageba narrowly escaped being escorted out of the top eight by beating a new combination of local talent Mark Peterson and Canadian import Jake MacNeil in three tight sets. With upsets all round, Hawkins and Nicklin with two more losses in their pool play, miss out on going through to the quarters.

In other men’s pool play, the local Paora Morunga and North Harbour athlete Thomas Hartles pairing were defeated by youngster Perry Preston and American Johnny Kessenich. Following suit to the other pool, Morunga and Hartles won their remaining pool play and went through on point countback, which saw Preston and Kessenich missing out on a .007 point differential.

Sam O’Dea and Michael Watson, and Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour both went through their pools undefeated.

On the women’s side, top seeds Japan went through without dropping a set. As did New Zealand’s top partnership of Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley. Seeded third in their pool Hayley Griffiths and Charlotte Joy won over second seed Bex Story and Dani Tuagalu in a tight third set 18 –16.

The pool play was followed by quarterfinals in breezy conditions.

The men produced two exciting three-set matches with Kapa/Seymour getting the better of Daryl Lewis/Brad Fullerton, while on the other court Jake MacNeil and Mark Petersen battled past Thomas Reid and Sonny Hirini to claim their first semifinal berth.

In the women’s quarterfinals, Ayumi Kusano and Akiko Hasegawa cruised past Anna Wruck and Rachel Gunn, as did Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley who defeated Hayley Griffiths and Charlotte Joy.

Semifinal action gets underway at 10.10 and the finals from 14.00. 


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