Mollymook is host to the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour and day one was nothing but electric | South Coast Registry

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The Australian Beach Volleyball Tour (ABVT) traveled to Mollymook this weekend for the inaugural Mollymook Open and day one of the event was truly unforgettable. Following on from the fantastic Cobram tournament earlier this month, this tournament saw a number of hungry teams looking to score big wins. The tournament kicked off at 8am yesterday, with a qualifying tournament where teams were looking to position themselves in the top four to advance to the elite division group. 23 men’s teams and 17 women’s teams took part in the play-offs, with the top four from each group then having the chance to play the elite teams. While this is a tremendous opportunity to enter the elite division. Going up against the best of the best having already played two or three other games that day when the elite teams are fully rested is definitely a daunting task. The Elite Division standings are compiled from previous competitions and your accumulated points, with matches operating in the classic format of first against sixteenth and so on. The first Elite Division matches kicked off at 4pm, with Gold Coast 2018 Commenwealth Games gold medalist and Tokyo Olympian Chris McHugh and new partner Paul Burnett headlining the event. It was no surprise to see the dynamic duo comfortably win their match in straight sets, as their experience and athleticism were just too much for the other team to handle as they dug in and raced to victory. Their opponent was smaller, meaning if they had any chance of winning, they should have used speed to counter the other side’s defense and keep them on their toes. Unfortunately, many of their offensive possessions were telegraphed, which made it easier to defend the number one seed. “We just wanted to be aggressive. It’s a bit windy today and sometimes when it’s windy you can be a bit hesitant, so we’re committed to playing an aggressive style of play, spreading the ball and it paid off,” Paul Burnett said in regards to their strategy. “At the end of the day, at the start of a new team, you’ll have times where you don’t quite find yourself on the pitch and it’s just about wearing that and working together to get past that,” said Chris McHugh. “We want to keep executing our game which we believe will ultimately help us against the best teams in the world, so we try to emulate that every time we step onto the pitch.” Phoebe Bell and Stefanie Fejes also got off to a good start in their quest to defend their Cobram crown, also beating their opponent in straight sets. With only one competition under their belt as a duo, they seem to be quickly developing good chemistry following the last tournament. “We wanted to bring that pace from last competition right into this event and I felt like we did that in our first match. It was a lot of fun,” said Phoebe Bell. “For us, we play with a lot of freedom and we really have fun on the court. We have our offensive and defensive strategies, but the underlying concept of our team is freedom,” she said. Ahead of today’s events, both teams will once again play one more elite division game before heading to the quarter-finals this afternoon. On Sunday, the semi-finals will be played in the morning, then the finals in the afternoon, an event not to be missed. “It’s a scenic place, and Mollymook is a great place, and I encourage everyone to come and check it out,” Mr McHugh said. Events will take place all weekend on Mollymook Beach across from the Surf Club.


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