COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena continue their podium streak with a gold-medal finish in Maceio, Brazil, after knocking off the home country.
The last time Dalhausser and Lucena played, they won the NORCECA Continental Tour Finals in November of 2015. Prior to that, they picked up six medals towards their Olympic qualification. The pair now have four gold together on their current quest to making the Games.
It was the 63rd-time that the U.S. has faced Brazil in the men’s gold medal match on the FIVB World Tour. The match didn’t disappoint, going three sets and down to the final points as a decider. Sunday’s finale saw the Americans stand alone in a crowd of Brazilian teams, which knocked off all the other countries in the quarterfinals the day before. Dalhausser and Lucena beat Alvaro Filho and Vitor Felipe 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 15-10) in the semifinals to face Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg in the final.
Evandro and Pedro have already been named as one of Brazil’s men’s teams to represent at the Olympics. With Sunday’s victory, the series between the USA and Brazil is 32-31, the U.S. trailing in FIVB World Tour men’s gold medal matchups. Dalhausser and Lucena have faced Brazil in a gold medal match at the 2015 World Tour Finals and the Long Beach Grand Slam, both losses. The 21-19, 19-21, 15-12 win was the fourth three-setter of the week for the pair, and gives Dalhausser his 32nd career FIVB gold and Lucena his third.
The momentum is swinging toward the U.S., after the Maceio Open, Dalhausser and Lucena earn 500 points for provisional Olympic rankings, which should jump them into the Top 17 with 4,100 points and give the USA three teams in contention in the rankings.
The U.S. had three men’s teams and three women’s teams enter main draw action in Maceio.
Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day placed 17th, the top finish for American women. Sean Rosenthal and Theo Brunner went 2-2 to tie for 17th after being eliminated in the first round. Seeded sixth for the tournament, John Hyden and Tri Bourne only got one match under their belts during pool play before withdrawing due to an injury to Hyden. The pair was still able to place 17th through the round one due to their high seeding.
The women’s leaders in rankings prior to the event, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat had a rough go in the main draw, falling 3-0 in pool play to be shutout at 25th place. Lane Carico and Summer Ross also tied for 25th, they picked up a victory against Germany.
WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Maceio Open
– Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena won gold, their fourth together and seventh medal in Olympic qualification
– Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day tied for 17th following their first round loss to Brazil
– Theo Brunner/Sean Rosenthal tied for 17th after reaching the first round of the main draw
– John Hyden/Tri Bourne finished in 17th after injury withdrawal forced elimination in the first round
– Lane Carico/Summer Ross tied for 25th with a 1-2 record in pool play
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat tied for 25th after falling 3-0 in pool play
– Eliminated in qualification were: Derek Olson/Jeremy Casebeer; Kendra Vanzwieten/Kimberly DiCello; Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar; Caitlin Ledoux/Irene Pollock
March 8-13 Rio Grand Slam
March 15-20 Vitoria Open
April 4-8 Doha Open (Men only)
April 12-17 Xiamen Open
April 19-24 Fuzhou Open
April 26-May 1 Fortaleza Open
FIVB USA’s Dalhausser and Lucena net Maceio Open men’s gold
FIVB Kessy fired up for Olympic year
National Volleyball League National Volleyball League announces 2016 Pro Tour schedule and NVL Rize Junior Tour events