Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock, Eric Zaun and Eric Roberts win gold this past Sunday at the New Zealand Beach Championships at Mt. Maunganui Main Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. The event was the final event of the Volleyball New Zealand Beach National Tour.

Dowdy and Pollock defeated Kelsie Wills and Shaunna Polley of New Zealand, 21-12, 21-18, giving them a boost of confidence going into the FIVB one-star in Shepparton, Australia.

“We had a great experience in New Zealand both on and off the court. The people here are very friendly and the culture is wonderful to be a part of,” Dowdy said.

“The tournament was an opportunity for us to prepare for the World Tour stop in Shepparton this week. We have been training hard all preseason, so it was so much for us to finally get an opportunity to compete.”

On the men’s side, Zaun and Roberts defeated Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour of New Zealand 21-17, 27-25. Despite the loss, it locked up the Volleyball New Zealand National Beach Tour overall title for Kapa and Seymour with three consecutive wins and the second-place finish.

“Competing in New Zealand was an incredible experience,” Zaun said. “Being able to get tournament reps under our belts in January is invaluable. Securing those reps in a breathtaking country is a hefty bonus.

“It was huge for us to get a win abroad before the FIVB event in Australia. We are looking to ride this high out for as long as we can overseas.”

Zaun-Roberts, Frishman-Drost advance in FIVB Shepparton: As mentioned, they’re in Australia this week and Zaun and Roberts and Chase Frishman and Avery Drost advanced safely through qualification Wednesday.

Zaun and Roberts defeated Simon Fecteau-Boutin and Hugo Rosso-Bonneau of Canada 21-19, 21-19 after receiving a bye to make the main draw.

Frishman and Drost also booked a spot in the main draw after defeating Casey Grice and Tim Dickson of Australia 21-10, 21-19 in the first round and Mark Nicolaidis and Ky Landers of Australia comfortably with a final score of 21-17, 21-6. Main-draw action begins Thursday.

Dowdy and Pollock are seeded fourth and Jace Pardon and Caitlin Ledoux seventh for the USA women. Pardon and Ledoux will face Laite Nima and Ilseva Ratudina of Fiji, while Dowdy and Pollock play Australians Sabine Mills and Jordan Mowen.

Fort Lauderdale-FIVB-beach volleyball-five-star
The FIVB five-star schedule kicks off February 26 at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park/Ed Chan,

FIVB Fort Lauderdale teams: The preliminary entry list for the five-star February 26-March 4 has been released. Eight USA men’s teams and 10 women’s teams will compete. The eight men’s teams are Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, Bill Kolinske and Miles Evans, Stafford Slick and Casey Patterson, Trevor Crabb and Skylar DelSol, Ryan Doherty and Billy Allen, John Hyden and Theo Brunner, and Adam Roberts and Jon Mesko.

In the women’s draw, the list includes Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes, Lauren Fendrick and Nicole Branagh, Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day, April Ross and Alix Klineman, Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross, Lane Carico and Brittany Howard, Aurora Scarbrough and Bree Scarbrough, Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen, Dowdy and Pollock, and Emily Stockman and Jace Pardon.

Misty May-Treanor-brittany Hochevar-Brian Gimmillaro
Brittany Hochevar (center) with Misty May-Treanor and Brian Gimmillaro/Instagram photo

Brittany Hochevar honored: The Long Beach Century Club feted Hochevar last week at the 62nd annual sports night in the Grand Events Center, naming her female Athlete of the Year.

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