RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena swept their pool en route to claiming their spot in the round of 16 where they will play Austria. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat suffered an eliminating loss to Russia earlier in the afternoon.
Dalhausser and Lucena won their 58th match of the year after topping Italy in three sets for a sweep of Pool C, giving them a berth into the elimination rounds. The pair will face Austria’s Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl on Aug. 13 at midnight.
April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings drew Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini, which will be the first meeting between the two teams as Giombini paired with Menegatti before the tournament started on Aug. 6, following Viktoria Orsi Toth being banned due to a failed drug test. The match is Aug. 12 at midnight.
The U.S. had a second three-set match on Thursday. Preceding the men’s match was Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, who went down to the wire with Russia for the final advancing slot in Pool A. Russia went on to win the match and eliminated the American women’s pair.
DALHAUSSER/LUCENA DEF ITALY | 21-13, 17-21, 24-22
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena entered their final pool play contest with a 2-0 record at the Olympics and a series record of 2-1 against Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.
On the line for the Americans was a chance to clinch the top spot of Pool C. After a swift first frame, 15-8 leading to 21-13, it looked as though the two were on the road to wrapping up the match quickly.
Italy fought back in the second however, leading 9-6 and 13-12 before evening the sets by taking the frame 21-17.
Fans in attendance and those who watch on TV witnessed spectacular play during the third set. With the score teeter-tottering in the early goings, and ties at 5-5, 7-7, Dalhausser and Lucena had multiple match points but weren’t able to keep the Italians at bay. Going into extra points after a tie at 15-all, the crowd fueled the energy on the sand and watched on as both teams went all out for the coveted win.
At the 17-16 mark a challenge by Lucena gave the U.S. an advantage, but points later an unsuccessful challenge led to a 21-all tie. On a two touch, Dalhausser finished the match left handed 24-22.
“Lupo played unbelievable defense and sided-out so well,” said Lucena. “I thought we played well. We came back. I’m pretty sure we were down a couple match points, back and forth, then Phil got a block and smart to-go on two, so it was a lot fun.”
Late on Thursday night the pair learned they would play Austria’s Huber/Seidl, at midnight on Aug. 13, giving them one full day of rest.
Also in their side of the bracket, Dalhausser/Lucena are joined by:
Alison/Bruno (BRA) vs Herrera/Gavira (ESP); Virgen /Ontiveros (MEX) vs Nummerdor/Varenhorst (NED); Lucky Loser vs Brouwer/Meeuwsen (NED).
On the other side of the bracket are: Ranghieri/Carambula (ITA) vs Nicolai/Lupo (ITA); Pedro Solberg/Evandro (BRA) vs Liamin/Barsuk (RUS); Semenov/Krasilnikov (RUS) vs Jefferson/Cherif (QAT); Doppler/Horts (AUT) vs Diaz/Gonzalez (CUB).
FENDRICK/SWEAT LOSS RUSSIA | 21-18, 24-26, 15-13
Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat finished 0-3 at the Olympics and were eliminated after suffering a three-set defeat at the hands of Russia on Thursday night. The final match of pool play was do or die for both teams, as the winner would claim the third rank in Pool A and a second chance of advancing with a bid into the lucky loser match.
Russia was able to move on after beating Fendrick/Sweat 21-18, 24-26, 15-13. In the first, Russia moved into a 10-7 lead and maintained in control before claiming the opening stanza, 21-18.
“Not a lot of athletes get to experience this, so I’m taking it all in,” said Fendrick. “We both know that we could play better than what we showed in this tournament. That part is hard to take it. But it always will be a special experience.”
USA battled back in the second, getting out to a 7-4 start. Fendrick and Sweat saw match point at 20-19 but Russia quickly tied it 21-all. Russia held off four set points for another tie at 24-24 until the Americans finished the frame 26-24.
In the equalizer, USA was down 3-5 but battled for an advantage at 9-6. A block by Russia moments later put the opposition ahead, 11-10 and forced the U.S. into a timeout. Fendrick and Sweat lost the set and the match, 15-13. The pair tied for 19th in the Olympic debut.
“Both sides wanted it,” said Sweat. “We were both fighting for it. Everyone was going to have to earn it and they did that today. We had a chance there in the third, just couldn’t come up with the points on the bad side. That’s how it goes.”
DRAWING OF ELIMINATION BRACKET
The top two teams in the pool will advanced to the Round of 16, included in that are two U.S. teams that finished 3-0 in their respective pools: April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings; Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena. Of the third-place finishers in each pool, the top two of those six advanced, based on match points, then by set ratio. The four remaining third-ranked teams in each pool played a two-match lucky loser round (3rd ranked vs 6th ranked; 4th vs 5th), with the winners advancing to the round of 16. The fourth ranked team in each pool was eliminated..
On the same side of the bracket as Ross and Walsh Jennings are: Kolosinska/Brzostek (POL) vs Bawden/Clacy (AUS); Wang/Yue (CHN) vs Agatha/Barbara (BRA); Ukulova/Birlova (RUS) vs Liliana/Elsa (ESP).
From the other side of the women’s bracket: Larissa/Talita (BRA) vs Borger/Buthe (GER); Meppelink/Van Iersel (NED) vs Heidrich/Zumkehr (SUI); Pavan/Bansley (CAN) vs Broder/Valjas (CAN); Forrer/Verge-Depre (SUI) vs Ludwig/Walkenhorts (GER).
DAY IN REVIEW
2016 Olympic Games | Aug. 1
– Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat lost to Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova/Ekaterina Birlova in a three-setter 21-18, 24-26, 15-13. The Olympic newcomers tied for 19th.
– Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena beat Italians Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo 21-13, 17-21, 24-22 to finish 3-0 in pool play and secure a top spot in the Round of 16.
Aug. 12, 11 p.m. ET Round of 16 Ross/Walsh Jennings vs Italy
Aug. 13, 11 p.m. ET Round of 16 Dalhausser/Lucena vs Austria
Aug. 6, Gibb/Patterson def Qatar 21-16, 21-16
Aug. 6, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Australia 21-14, 21-13
Aug. 7, Fendrick/Sweat loss Poland 14-21, 21-13, 15-7
Aug. 7, Dalhausser/Lucena def Tunisia 21-7, 21-13
Aug. 8, Gibb/Patterson loss Austria 21-18, 21-18
Aug. 8, Ross/Walsh Jennings def China 21-16, 21-9
Aug. 9, Dalhausser/Lucena def Mexico 21-14, 21-17
Aug. 9, Fendrick/Sweat loss Brazil 21-16, 21-13
Aug. 10, Gibb/Patterson loss Spain 21-19, 16-21, 15-7
Aug. 10, Ross/Walsh Jennings def Switzerland 21-13, 22-24, 15-12
Aug. 11, Fendrick/Sweat loss Russia 21-18, 24-26, 15-13
Aug. 11, Dalhausser/Lucena def Italy 21-13, 17-21, 24-22