FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (March 4, 2018) – It took 39 minutes for Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena to win the final of the FIVB Fort Lauderdale Major five-star beach event.
That was good because the U.S. team had a plane to Qatar to catch.
Dalhausser and Lucena, the tournament’s top seeds, completed their domination of the tournament in their home state with a 21-12, 21-17 win over Italy’s fifth-seeded Paulo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo.
“We served tough,” said Lucena, who had three aces in the final match. “I thought we got them out of system a little bit and if that team’s in-system, they’re hard to stop so we did a good job of serving tough,” Lucena said. “They scramble, and they make plays. Phil was the difference-maker. He had more blocks than Nicolai did.”
Dalhausser finished with six blocks.
“I feel pretty darn good to say the least,” Dalhausser said. “Nick and I played great all weekend and we were just super steady. The Italians were tough. They were able to do a little better in the second there. It was close to the end and we ended up winning. Great feeling.”
Italy took a 4-2 lead in the first set, but a 7-0 serving run from Lucena that included two aces gave the U.S. the lead for good.
In the second set, the Italians started serving Dalhausser instead of Lucena and had better luck. But at 12-12, Dalhausser scored on a kill and a block. Italy called timeout and got one point back, but never led again.
Dalhausser and Lucena did not lose a set during the tournament, going 12-0. It was their first time winning the tournament in three tries.
Although both players are from Florida and had friends and family at the event, there was not much time to celebrate as they had a plane to catch to the next tournament in Doha, Qatar.
“I feel pumped, but I have to catch a plane to Doha so it sort of trumps that feeling,” Lucena said.