Beach Pro Tour - News

Mount Maunganui winners Shaunna Polley & Alice Zeimann (source: Julie Maree Photography via Volleyball New Zealand)

Mount Maunganui winners Shaunna Polley & Alice Zeimann (source: Julie Maree Photography via Volleyball New Zealand)

New Zealand’s top women’s duo, Shaunna Polley & Alice Zeimann, triumphed on home sand at the Mount Maunganui Futures stop on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour to defend their title from last year. The winners of the first Tour event of the season last week, Stefanie Fejes & Jana Milutinovic of Australia, settled for silver this time, while the women’s bronze went to Alaina Chacon & Mariah Whalen of the United States.

USA picked up two medals in the men’s tournament. Jordan Hoppe & James Shaw upgraded their Mollymook Futures bronze to a Mount Maunganui gold, while their compatriots Cody Caldwell & Jake Urrutia finished third. Australia, in Ben Hood & D'Artagnan Potts, took the silver on the men’s side as well.

Kiwis defend women’s Mount Maunganui title

A three-set battle between the two seeding leaders marked the women’s gold medal showdown. Top-seeded Polley & Zeimann came back from a set down against second-seeded Fejes & Milutinovic to celebrate a narrow 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-13) victory and collect the pair’s second gold medal on the Beach Pro Tour. The first one was also gold from Mount Manganui last year.

The Kiwi duo did pushed through the tournament winning all five of their matches. In the semifinals, they produced a 2-0 (21-15, 21-9) shutout of ninth-seeded qualifiers Avery Poppinga & Madison Shields of the United States. The Aussies also met American qualifiers in the semis, but needed three sets and almost an hour to get the job done against seventh-seeded Chacon & Whalen, 2-1 (21-11, 23-25, 16-14), and secure their third Beach Pro Tour medal, after the Futures golds from Coolangatta 2023 and Mollymook 2024 at home.

In an all-American third-place match, Chacon & Whalen delivered a 2-0 (21-16, 22-20) win over Poppinga & Shields and marked their second appearance on the Tour with bronze, after finishing fourth the previous week in Mollymook.

American team tops podium at only second Beach Pro Tour appearance

Hoppe & Shaw crowned their second participation on the Beach Pro Tour with gold, after taking the bronze in Mollymook at their debut a week earlier. The fourth-seeded Americans won all five of their games in Mount Maunganui, three of them, including the final, in tie-breakers. They lost the first set of the gold medal match against eighth-seeded Hood & Potts, but came from behind to celebrate a 2-1 (18-21, 21-9, 15-9) victory.

The battle in their semifinal against top-seeded New Zealanders Thomas Reid & John McManaway was even fiercer, but Hoppe & Shaw emerged with a 2-1 (25-23, 20-22, 15-11) upset. In the other semifinal, 19-year-old Hood and 20-year-old Potts mastered a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) shutout of ninth-seeded Caldwell & Urrutia, who bounced back with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) sweep of the bronze medal game against Reid & McManaway.

For both the silver and the bronze medallists, it was the first time on a Beach Pro Tour podium.

26 women’s teams and 25 men’s teams representing 11 different countries took part in the Mount Maunganui Futures. The next Futures event will take place in Coolangatta, Australia from March 20 to 24.