Makeshift pairing snatch beach gold in Perth

Perth, Australia, March 29, 2015 - Becchara Palmer and Mariafe Artacho del Solar marked their first tournament together by winning the National Grand Slam event at Scarborough Beach in Perth on Sunday. 

The pair were only playing together after their regular playing partners, Zina Stone and Nicole Laird, were unable to play through injury.

In the final they defeated Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy, Australia’s top seeds and familiar faces on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, 2-1 (21-16, 6-21, 17-15). 

They are expected to return to their regular partnerships when the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour begins at the Fuzhou Open in April. 

Del Solar and Laird will be aiming to build on the FIVB U23 World Championships gold medal that they won in 2014. Del Solar also won bronze at the 2013 U21 World Championships with Clancy. 

“That was pretty epic, that got about as close as it could go in the third set,” Palmer said.

“We just said let’s leave that behind us,” del Solar said. “We said it’s one set all, let’s just go back to doing what we did in the first set, which was stay calm.”

Chris McHugh meanwhile teamed up with one of the most familiar faces on the World Tour, Bo Soderberg of Denmark. 

McHugh won his first World Tour medal in 2014, when he and Isaac Kapa took home bronze from the Klagenfurt Grand Prix, but with Kapa recovering from a shoulder injury he teamed up with Soderberg to win in Perth. 

In the final he and Soderberg defeated proved too strong for New Zealand’s Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea and 2-0.


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