2022 Challenge Series begins with NZ Tertiary Beach Volleyball Championships
A record 20 teams took to the beach on Friday for the NZ Tertiary Beach Volleyball Championships which were held on Mount Maunganui's Main Beach. The event, which is run by Volleyball New Zealand, comprised of three divisions - Championship Women, Championship Men, and Open Women.
The first round of matches began at 9am in ideal conditions with the sun beaming down on the six courts in use. As the morning progressed and the pool matches wrapped up, the thermometers hit 28 degrees causing most athletes to put on a pair of socks to avoid burning their feet in the sand. While the wind threatened to cause havoc early on, it settled around midday leaving the afternoon's matches to be played in relatively still conditions.
The Championship Women's division contained four highly-competitive teams with the format being a full round robin followed by straight finals. The two teams to progress from the round robin and into the Grand Final were the University of Auckland's Sadlier/Pepi-Milton, and Han/Williams from the University of Otago. After being pushed to three sets in the round robin match-up, Katie Sadlier and Jasmine Pepi-Milton proved too strong for the pair from Otago, claming the gold medal in straight sets. Taking home the bronze was the University of Waikato's Allison/Dickson, leaving Waddicor/Gow from the University of Auckland in fourth.
The Men's Championship division was the biggest of the three, with 12 teams split into four pools. Progressing into the semi-finals were the defending champions Mcmanaway/Fountain from the University of Waikato, Sadlier/Gough from the University of Auckland, Moore/Clarke from AUT and Joe/Richards from the University of Otago. At the end of the day it was the defending champions who made it back-to-back titles with Jack Mcmanaway and Bae Fountain earning the gold medals over Keegan Joe and Henare Richards.
Another four women's teams contested the Open Women's division, with teams from the University of Waikato, the University of Auckland, Massey University, and a combined pair with students from the University of Waikato and Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec). After a few injuries and partner changes within the division, it was the combined team of Bennett/Tock that claimed gold with van Dijk/Wareham from Massey earning silver and the University of Auckland's Wang/Xu winning bronze.
Posted: Tue 25 Jan 2022