- Coolangatta Beachfront; Queensland, Australia
- April 6-12, 2017
It was a battle to the finish, but, in the end, the home crowd went home happy as 20th ranked Australians Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann outlasted 14th-ranked Canadians Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter for the Commonwealth Games gold on Thursday.
After not dropping a set through pool play, quarterfinals and semifinals, the Australians dropped Set 2 21-18. The team then had to overcome a 12-9 deficit in Set 3 to secure the win. After a tie at 9-all, a Schachter kill, a Pedlow ace and a McHugh hitting error gave Team Canada the 12-9 edge. A 3-0 run, including a McHugh ace, knotted the score at 12. A Pedlow block gave Canada the first match point try at 14-13, but a service error and McHugh stuff put Australia up 15-14. The home side had two more match-point chances, the last at 17-16 before clinching the gold on a Pedlow hitting error.
“You shouldn’t really win matches when you’re 9-12 down in the third set but we just said hey lets just roll the dice and see what happens,” Schumann said. “To Chris’ credit he came up with some killer serves which is very hard to do under those circumstances and a massive block and we did it!”
Statistically, the Canadians outdid the Aussies in kills (36-34) and blocks (3-1), but gave up four more points on errors (19-15) and trailed 3-2 in aces.
“It’s great to have 5000 Australians cheering for you,” McHugh said. “There’s no other feeling like it. Damo and I will never forget the feeling of playing in front of a home crowd like that.”
New Zealand claimed the bronze medal, with Sam O’Dea and Ben O’Dea topping England’s Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf in straight sets. The O’Deas posted nine blocks, eight by Sam, and outdid their foes 24-18 in kills.
Seventy-one countries are represented at the Commonwealth Games, with 12 fielding pairs in the beach volleyball debut at the event.
On the men’s side, the teams hailed from Australia, Canada, Cyprus, England, Fiji, Mozambique, New Zealand, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann (Australia) def. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter (Canada) 21-19, 18-21, 18-16
Sam O’Dea/Ben O’Dea (New Zealand) def. Chris Gregory/Jake Sheaf (England) 21-13, 21-15