GSTAAD, Switzerland – Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena picked up silver for their seventh medal of the year of the FIVB World Tour.
Both of the USA Olympic men’s pairs placed in the Top 5 at their final international event before the Olympic Games, similar to their women’s counterparts who did the same on Saturday afternoon. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who played in their sixth finale of 2016, fell to Brazil, 24-22, 21-16. Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson lost to Latvia in the quarterfinals to finish fifth.
In the men’s gold medal match, Dalhausser and Lucena opened with a slight advantage until the Brazilians gained a little bit of control at 13-11. After the U.S. tied it at 14-all, Brazil took a timeout, which seemed to help as they were able to reach match point at 20-18. The American men forced five set points for Brazil, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 24-22.
“Evandro’s serve was ridiculous,” said Dalhausser. “I think he had five aces in that first set. When he’s serving like that, they’re tough to beat.”
In the second set, play was evenly matched until Brazil took a 10-8 lead. From there USA’s deficit grew, 19-14. Brazil closed the set and the match, 21-16.
“We didn’t have that great of a weekend, we started off slow,” Dalhausser continued. “We got better as the weekend went along. Second isn’t what we wanted but we still worked pretty hard to get it. I’m not going to say I’m happy with it, but I’m not terribly upset either.”
Heading into the gold medal match, Dalhausser and Lucena dispatched Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins by a score of 21-18, 21-16 in the semifinal.
Dalhausser and Lucena reached the semifinals after topping Spain, Italy and Brazil in the first three rounds. Their tournament began with a 2-1 record in pool play, having dropped a match to Mexico in two sets.
For the second-consecutive week, Gibb and Patterson were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Samoilovs/Smedins of Latvia. This time around, the Americans fell 21-17, 21-19. Gibb and Patterson were the only U.S. men’s team to win their pool, going 3-0, a best for the five men’s teams in the main draw.
“I’m 40-years old and I haven’t learned how to lose,” said Gibb afterward. “It still hurts. We’re going to get better from it. Latvia is playing well, very athletic. That loss was on me, I didn’t block well. We’ll head home and get a nice training block in. Get in the gym and get a lot of practicing on the problems we’re having out here. We’ve got to clean up some things before Rio but we’ll be ready.”
In the second round, Gibb and Patterson eliminated Trevor and Taylor Crabb, who had a sensational run beginning in country quota. The match went three sets, 28-30, 21-16, 15-13, and set up the quarterfinal showdown that was played less than six hours later.
The Crabb brothers tied their best international finish of ninth place, which they have now done on three occasions. The Crabbs lost in the country quota match to Ryan Doherty/John Mayer, but in a lucky losers drawi were able to enter the qualification tournament. There they had wins against Netherlands and Austria for their break into the main draw.
In the main draw, Gibb and Patterson were the only U.S. men’s team out of five to win their pool. In the elimination rounds, the Crabb brothers up set 10-seeded Austria’s Doppler/Horst before falling in the second round. USA’s John Hyden and Tri Bourne were eliminated in round one by Brazil, closing their tournament in 17th place.
Sean Rosenthal and Jeremy Casebeer were seeded in a pool with Hyden and Bourne. The pair tied for 25th after going 0-3.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Gstaad Major
– Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena won silver, their 11th FIVB medal as a team
– April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings won silver, their seventh medal of 2016
– Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson finished fifth, their second consecutive and eighth Top 5 finish in 2016
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat finished fifth, their third quarterfinal finish in 2016
– Tied for 9th: Trevor Crabb/Taylor Crabb; Lane Carico/Summer Ross
– Tied for 17th: John Hyden/Tri Bourne
– Tied for 25th: Sean Rosenthal/Jeremy Casebeer; Kimberly DiCello/Kendra Vanzwieten
– Lost in qualification: Ryan Doherty/John Mayer; Irene Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux
July 14-16 NVL Columbus
July 14-17 AVP Manhattan Beach Open
July 15-17 NORCECA Varadero
Aug. 5-18 Olympic Games beach volleyball matches
Aug. 5-7 NORCECA Boqueron
Aug. 11-13 NVL Hermosa Beach
Aug. 23-28 Long Beach Grand Slam
Aug. 26-28 NVL Virginia Beach