Californian qualifiers Chase Frishman and James Avery Drost broke Aussie hearts at the Shepparton FIVB World Tour beach volleyball event yesterday.
Against reigning men’s champions, Australia’s Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, the Americans raced to an early lead in the first set and never surrendered it, before breaking away late in the second to seal the title.
They started the week having to win through qualifying to the main draw and did not waste the opportunity when they made it, only dropping one set in five matches at the Victoria Park Lake courts.
An elated Frishman said he had expected a tough match against the world’s 20th ranked pair.
‘‘I’ve got a lot of respect for all these Aussie teams, they’re great guys and a lot of fun to play against,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ve got a lot of power, but from the start we wanted to come out there and be confident in ourselves; if our game wasn’t good enough to win, we weren’t going to try and change our gameplan.
‘‘Late in the game they did a really good job, but I thought we did well maintaining our composure, which held them at bay.’’
Frishman and Drost jumped the better of the teams and had at least a two-point cushion all the way in the first set.
They took the first 21-17, but trailed early in the second as Schumann reeled off a string of winners to grab the lead.
But the turning point came midway through the second as the Americans won four straight points to turn an 8-10 deficit into a 12-10 lead they would never surrender, taking the second 21-15.
With the first tour title of the year under their belts, Frishman hoped it was the first of many with his playing partner of eight months.
‘‘Our goals for the season are to try and travel to more of these things and build some rankings points internationally,’’ he said.
‘‘We have high expectations for the AVP (American professional beach volleyball league) tournaments, but this is the next step that we want to make.
‘‘We’re just getting any points we can and taking any opportunity to keep moving up in the level of play.’’
He said he had loved his time in Shepparton.
‘‘I’m going to stay for a couple more days after and cruise around, so if anyone’s got a couch I can sleep on that would be great,’’ he said with a laugh.
‘‘It’s been fun here, we got to see some wildlife, and see some kangaroos, which is cool for us. Everybody has just been so kind and welcoming to us.’’
Australian pair Zachery Schubert and Cole Durant took out the bronze medal match against Germans Armin Dollinger and Simon Kulzer, winning comfortably 21-10, 21-13.