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'We almost forfeited': Aussie's heroic call for medal match

Posted: 12-Jul-2019 by PanAm Games 2019

It wasn’t quite the ending they were hoping for, but Dakota Lipton and Max Curtis can leave Mexico knowing they threw everything they had at the Maccabi Pan-American Games.

Australia’s only beach volleyball duo fell short in their bronze medal match against Mexico 1, going down 21-16, 21-15 in their final match of the tournament.

Astonishingly, the Aussies had contemplated forfeiting the clash before even hitting the sand with Curtis battling an illness which had left him without a wink of sleep the night prior to the clash. Ultimately, he heroically agreed to take his place for the medal showdown.

Max Curtis played through the pain

“I just said to him a minute ago, so proud of him [Curtis] just for coming out and playing,” Lipton said of his playing partner.

We almost forfeited this morning because he was just so sick. I’m so proud of how he came out and still had a good red-hot crack of it. Couldn’t be happier.”

The pair hurled their bodies around the sand in the hope of matching their opponents, but in the end it wasn’t to be. A big crowd was on hand to watch them battle to the final point at Mexico’s Jewish Community Centre, in a showing they can be proud of.

Despite a slow start, the Aussies clawed their way into the match with grit and guile around the net. Lipton came up with some massive spikes to cushion the score line as Curtis valiantly battled through the pain.

After losing the first set, our boys jumped out to a lead with some quality after the break. Some sneaky set plays caught the Mexicans off guard, but a few lapses quickly levelled up the playing field. Ultimately, the hosts were too strong for the beleaguered Aussie duo, as they claimed bronze in straight sets.

They’re not coming home with a medal, but Lipton and Curtis can be proud of their achievements in Mexico – among them, beating both the gold and silver medallists as well as a duo who had just returned from the U19 World Championships.

“We’re very proud,” Lipton said after the match.

“We had probably our toughest game first off against the Israeli junior national team and we played brilliant. We were really happy with that and we were hoping to keep playing the entire tournament the way we did in that game, unfortunately, we lost a couple on the way we should have won but very happy with everything.”

Dakota Lipton in action

Adding to the experience, the pair had the pleasure of battling abroad on the back of a lengthy relationship after being brought together by the game. They met years ago when Curtis coached his future playing partner in his high school days at Mount Scopus College in Melbourne.

 “It’s very special,” Lipton said.

“We’ve known each other for probably close to 10 years, and we’ve been playing volleyball on and off for that amount of time so its been great to connect again and go to one of these games and play some pretty fun volleyball in the end.”

This might not be the last you hear of Lipton and Curtis, with the former admitting he’s got his eye on a return to Israel for the Maccabiah Games in two years time with one clear objective.

Finally clinching that coveted medal.

Congratulations on a top tournament, boys. You did Australia proud.