Mason, Ohio, USA, May 21, 2016 – It wasn’t the match they wanted to be a part of, but USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself in the men’s bronze medal match of the double-gender FIVB Cincinnati Open presented by the AVP.
With Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying points at a premium, Dalhausser and Lucena pushed aside their disappointment and made some strides toward their goal with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over American compatriots John Mayer and Ryan Doherty Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
The event, which is one of the last three Olympic qualifiers through the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour ended Saturday at the prominent Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio and was the seventh tournament in the stretch of eight straight events on the FIVB World Tour. Next week the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the double-gender FIVB Moscow Grand Slam.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Dalhausser said. “We would have liked to have been playing in the finals but at least we went out with a win, with a bronze, and we’ll take some hardware over to Moscow.
“This finish helped us. I’m not going to say we’re a lock, but we’re looking pretty good to qualify.”Quick links
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Dalhausser and Lucena, who only formed a partnership last summer, must still participate in one more FIVB World Tour event in order to have their provisional ranking points counted toward qualification. That figures to come next week in the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam, which is followed by the Hamburg Major, the final tournament qualification points can be earned.
The duo dropped a three-set semifinal to Canadians Sam Schachter and Josh Binstock, then took care of business against Mayer and Doherty. The difference in points from third to fourth place is 50 points.
“We wanted to be in the final,” Lucena said. “I thought we played better in this match and to come back after a loss and to play like we did, that’s pretty good as a team and we’ll use a little momentum going into two Grand Slams.
“We still have one more finish, two more finishes maybe and any of those U.S. teams can win them, so we’re not a lock yet.”
Dalhausser and Lucena never trailed in the first set. Doherty and Mayer took an 11-10 lead in the second, but could score only five more points the rest of the way.
“They’re our best American team and they proved it again right there,” Mayer said. “I could have been more consistent, but they’re good. It’s tough when you play a good team.”
It was the best finish in an FIVB World Tour event for Doherty and Mayer.FIVB CINCINNATI OPEN PURSE/POINTS
The gold medal teams at the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP, will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 400 points and fourth place $4,500 and 450 points.ON THE HORIZON
With placement points for the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continuing, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour continues with events over eight straight weeks through the end of May. In all, Brazil is hosting five international events in 2016. In addition to Maceió, Rio, Vitoria and Fortaleza, the Brazil events conclude with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Aug. 6-18).
The FIVB World Tour was in Europe for two events over the last two weeks. Up first was in Russia two weeks followed by last week’s FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (May 10-15). The tour is visiting the United States for the first time in 2016 this week for the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP (May 17-21) in Mason, Ohio. Next week, the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam (May 24-29). After a one week respite, the final Olympic qualifying event on the FIVB World Tour will be the FIVB Hamburg Major Series in Germany (June 7-12).