For the first time in Australian Beach Volleyball history talented brothers Damien and Justin Schumann have come face to face at a major tournament and it was a match well worth the wait.
Justin more than 10 years the junior made it through Thursday’s qualification round with partner Mitch Wakefield to face the top seeds, one of which just happened to be Schumann’s older brother Damien.
The younger Schumann in his first ever main draw appearance and Wakefield were ready to be giant killers against the defending champions McHugh/Schumann.
A thrilling first set had the crowd on the edge of their seats with favourites McHugh/Schumann a little nervous, making uncharacteristic errors while the underdogs were playing as if their lives depended on it. But Australia’s best men were able to sneak away with the first set 21-19.
McHugh then served five aces in a row early in the second set to put Schumann/Wakefield on the the back foot but they refused to throw in the towel, going point for point for most of the set.
The top seeds though had enough weapons to close it out 21-18 on a special day for the Schumann family.
“It’s just like super fun and exciting. That’s all I can describe it as. Its special. I was surprised with each point we won put it that way.” said Justin.
“I watched him grow up from a little baby to see him qualify yesterday was awesome to be playing him today was nerve wracking but it was really special.” said Damien.
“We were all nice before we went on the court but as soon as the whistle started you're just trying as hard as you can to win every point”
While it was a great day for the Schumann’s it wasn’t so good for Australia generally who now have just three teams remaining in the tournament.
Phoebe Bell and Jess Ngauamo are the only remaining Australian women after defeating Japan 21-18, 22-20.
Zac Schubert and Cole Durant are also continuing their impressive recent form to be through to Saturdays single elimination with a 21-19, 21-18 win over Canada.
The tournament so far has seen a coming of age for Beach Volleyball in the Oceania region wth the likes of Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand applying most of the pressure and destruction to the highly favoured Australian teams.
Australia’s head coach Victor Anfiloff put a positive spin on a what was a tough day at the office for the Aussies over all.
“We started with nine teams and we are down to three but we only need two to win it” said Anfiloff.
PHOTO CREDIT: Owen Hammond - APAC Sports Media