A massive weekend of beach volleyball wrapped up in Scarborough on Sunday with the Alcohol. Think Again WA State Open finals. More than 160 players took part in the three day event with the top eight players from the main draw facing off on Sunday to see who would claim the 2018 WA titles.
The Women’s gold medal match was dominated by Rio Olympians and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games hopefuls Marife Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy. Coming off a close semifinal, Artacho del Solar and Clancy faced off against Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicoa. From the opening serve the Olympians looked comfortable and were showing no signs of their recent injury hiatus. Cruising quickly through the first set, the duo never looked fazed and were able to deliver a masterclass performance. The final score saw Artacho del Solar and Clancy take out the win in two sets, 21-11 and 21 -14.
“The final felt really good. I feel like it was our best game of the weekend, we brought our flavour and we brought our game style. A lot of what we’ve been doing this weekend is about growing our game and developing what we can do together. “Artacho del said.
“Every game over the weekend we were finding more of our rhythm. It’s been such a long time in-between competing, but we are really happy to be back out there on the sand together.” Clancy added.
The weekend concluded with the Men’s gold medal match where 2017 WA Open winner Zac Schubert and partner Max Gruher played the in-form duo, Marcus Ferguson and Tim Dickson. Ferguson and Dickson would have been forgiven for a slow start after a hard fought three-set semifinal against locals Samuel Kingston and Jonathan Hunt, however the boys came out firing. A tense first set saw Schubert and Gruher struggle and were seven points down before they called a timeout. A commendable resurgence from the Australian squad members was not enough to stem Ferguson and Dickson’s blitzing play and the young guns took out the first set 21-18.
The second set started off more even with both teams putting on a high-energy show for the Scarborough Beach crowd. However solid defence from Ferguson and Dickson proved to be too much with the boys backing up their 2018 Victorian Open win with the WA title, 21-17 and 21-15.
“We went out there with a very clear game plan and were able to execute it really well. [Schubert and Gruher] are part of the senior squad and we are making our way up, so I guess we wanted to make a point. We went out guns blazing and just backed ourselves the whole way through.” Ferguson said.
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend coming off the Victorian Open. We’ve been put under pressure by a lot of the local teams and they surprised us with their level of play. So I think trying to back up and get up for each game has been hard. But we stuck together and we were able to maintain our connection which paid off.” Dickson said.
The morning started with semi-finals and were followed by the bronze medal matches. In the women’s game, three-time Olympian Tamsin Hinchley and 2017 WA Open winner Christie Jenkins played fellow Australian’s Shelby Maher and Tessa Anderson. Hinchley and Jenkins were solid throughout and were never too threatened by Maher and Anderson. Wrapping up the bronze medal in two sets, Hinchley and Jenkins won 21-14 and 21-16.
It was an all West Australian field in the Men’s bronze medal match, 2017 WA Open runner up team Mark Van Winsen and Jayson Fox played duo Jonathan Hunt and Samuel Kingston. Hunt and Kingston had the hard task of following up an exhausting semifinal against crowd favourites Van Winsen and Fox. The first set slipped away from the up and coming Hunt and Kingston with Van Winsen and Fox cruising to a 21-14 win. The contest heated up in the second set and was anybody’s game with both teams taking the lead at some point. However Van Winsen and Fox capitalised on their experience and clinched the second set 21-19 to claim bronze.
To find out more about the Alcohol. Think Again Beach Volleyball WA State Open head to Volleyball WA’s social media pages or check out Volleyball Australia’s YouTube page to relive all of the finals action.