Nikki & Mariafe Win Third Round Of Pro Beach Tour!
Mariafe and I landed in Scarborough beach, Western Australia for the third round of the national tour last Thursday with redemption in mind. We managed to top our pool in both rounds previous and just couldn’t pull the trigger when it came to the single elimination rounds bowing out with two 5th’s! We got our draw midday on Friday and realized that if this event was going to be the one for us to breakthrough in, we were going to have to battle from the start. We had arguably 2 of the strongest teams in Australia in our pool. We managed again to top our pool by the end of Saturday beating both teams in tough 3 setters. Heading into the single elimination round we were both anxious about previous tournaments but had the utmost confidence in our teams abilities and the way we had been playing through the tournament so far. We won our quarter final which put us into super Sunday for the first time this year! This was the first finals day I have been a part of for 2 years as I was injured for most of last year, making it all the more sweater. I was asked by the commentator at the end of the match if making the finals was enough to which I answered, ‘no way’. We took on one of the teams from our pool play again in the semi final and won another long 3 set match to put us into what would be our first gold medal match on the national tour as a team. We faced the number 1 team in Australia in the gold medal match, who currently are ranked number 9th in the world! We managed to lose the first 8 points of the match in possibly one of the most shaky starts to a game I’ve been a part of! I have no doubt that the majority of the crowd was expecting a white wash. We found our feet mid way through the set and brought the score up to a semi respectable 20-17 before losing the first set 21-17. The second set was much more like a gold medal game style of match. We went point for point all the way to the end where we took it out 21-18. The third set was the business end. We kept our cool talking mainly about what we needed to control on our side of the net and being patient about our skills coming off eventually. We battled point for point again until a net dribbler gave us 3 match points. We took out the set 15-13 in one of the most exciting wins of my career so far! The emotion felt at the end of it was something that had been built up over months of hard work and adversity and it felt great for our team to finally break through the hold that Lou and Tee have had on the national tour as the force they are! As nice as it was to win my first national tour, it’s just one of many. The competition will only get stronger and the tournaments harder which means no rest for the wicked. We’re back on the sands all of this week training to back it up this weekend at St Kilda!