The New Zealand women’s beach volleyball team advanced to the semi-finals with a sound 23-13, 21-15 win over England.  

The New Zealanders, Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley, looked in excellent form and now have a semi-final meeting with Canada. New Zealand will need to reverse the result of their pool match if they are to advance to the final.

The previously unbeaten New Zealand men’s team – Sam O’Dea and Brad Fuller – bowed out in the quarter-finals to Rwanda 21-18, 21-19.

In the first set, Rwanda got out to 7-3 and 14-8. New Zealand pulled back to 17-16, but the Rwandans played the crucial late points better.

It was much the same in the second set where New Zealand finally got back to parity at 9-9 and then led 14-11. The Rwandans tightened and it was anyone’s game at 18-18, but again Rwanda played the big points at the end better.

O’Dea , who teamed with his brother Ben to win a bronze medal in beach volleyball at the 2018 commonwealth Games, reflected later that the New Zealanders might have slightly under-estimated the Rwandans.

“We didn’t know a lot about them. They served really well and found some weaknesses of ours to exploit,” he said. “That’s what it’s about. They kept the pressure on and when you’re constantly under pressure you start to make mistakes.”

Fuller  felt he and O’Dea had fought hard, but said in the end the Rwandans were simply too good.

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