Muller/O'Dea capture New Zealan's first ever World Tour gold medal

Rarotonga, Cook Islands, January 17, 2020 - New Zealand now has a gold medal winning team on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour as Griffin Muller and Sam O'Dea posted a pair of wins here Friday over teams from the United States to capture the gold medal at the inaugural VolleyFest Cook Islands.

In the seventh event on the 2019-2020 FIVB World Tour men's calendar, the seventh-seeded Muller and O'Dea posted a 2-1 (21-14, 20-22, 15-7) win in 52 minutes over ninth-seeded Americans Christopher Austin/Earl Schultz to secure the milestone gold medal win for New Zealand while collecting the US$1,000 first-place prize.

Muller and O'Dea also became the 12th men's team to win a World Tour event together in their first FIVB start as the Kiwi pair was the first New Zealand men's or women's team to play in a gold medal match on the international beach volleyball circuit that was staging event No. 465 for men.

After winning two pool play matches on Wednesday and an elimination contest on Thursday, Muller and O'Dea opened the Friday schedule by defeating filth-seeded Travis Mewhirter/Adam Roberts of the United States in the second semifinals.

Austin and Schultz, who split $700 for their silver medal finish, advanced to the finals with a three-set win against third-seeded qualifiers Hitoshi Murakami/Takashi Tsuchiya of Japan. Austin and Schultz where playing in their second World Tour event after failing to qualify for the FIVB main draw in November at Doha, Qatar.

Source: FIVB Official Website