It took two hard-fought three-set victories Saturday afternoon, but in the end Americans Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock were the last team standing, earning their first ever FIVB medal and the Shepparton One-Star title.
The pair, which joined forces in June 2017 and had previously finished only as high as fifth at the Daegu and Ulsan One-Star events, edged New Zealand pair Shaunna Marie Polley/Kelsie Wills in the semis (19-21, 21-15, 15-7).
In the final, fellow Americans Jace Pardon and Caitlin Ledoux stood across the net and pushed their countrywomen in a 21-17, 18-21, 15-12 loss for the silver. Pardon/Ledoux bested Italians Marta Menegatti/Laura Giombini in straight sets to make the final.
The Italians notched their best finish since placing ninth at the 2016 World Tour Finals by closing out the tournament with bronze.
On the men’s side, Americans Chase Frishman and James Avery Drost won the title in their first ever tournament as a duo after beginning the week in qualifying. The pair knocked off defending Shepparton champ Australians Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann, who were looking to defend their 2017 Shepparton One-Star crown, in straight sets.
Australians Cole Durant/Zachery Schubert, who were looking to better their 2017 runner-up finish, had to settle for bronze after falling to the Americans in the semis.
Jace Pardon/Caitlin Ledoux (USA) def. Marta Menegatti/Laura Giombini (Italy) 21-19, 21-16
Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock (USA) def. Shaunna Marie Polley/Kelsie Wills (Australia) 19-21, 21-15, 15-7
Gold Medal Match
Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock (USA) def. Jace Pardon/Caitlin Ledoux (USA) 21-17, 18-21, 15-12
Bronze Medal Match
Marta Menegatti/Laura Giombini (Italy) def. Shaunna Marie Polley/Kelsie Wills (New Zealand) 23-21, 21-15
Chase Frishman/James Avery Drost (USA) def. Cole Durant/Zachery Schubert (Australia) 21-19, 21-16
Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann (Australia) def. Armin Dollinger/Simon Kulzer (Germany) 21-17, 21-17
Men’s Gold Medal
Chase Frishman/James Avery Drost (USA) vs. Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann (Australia) 21-17, 21-15
Men’s Bronze Medal
Cole Durant/Zachery Schubert (Australia) def. Armin Dollinger/Simon Kulzer (Germany) 21-10, 21-13