Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 27, 2016 — You couldn’t blame USA Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena if they took the court, looked across the net and said “Who is this guy?” It’s not often an FIVB Grand Slam semifinal has an unknown quantity, but that’s what Dalhausser and Lucena faced in the semifinals of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam on Saturday.Quick links - Long BeachLong Beach Grand Slam websiteQualification - MenQualification - WomenMain draw - MenMain draw - Women
The familiar face was Italian Olympian Alex Ranghieri but there was his partner, 23-year-old Marco Caminati. And after it appeared the top-seeded Americans were on their way to Sunday’s gold-medal match, the sand got a little rocky. Still, Dalhausser and Lucena prevailed for a 21-15, 17-21, 15-6 victory that was highlighted by an 11-0 run in the third set.
The Americans will face third-seeded Olympians Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves in Sunday’s final. Pedro/Evandro reached the gold medal match with a 14-21, 21-14, 15-11 victory over second-seeded Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, which followed the Brazilians’ 21-17, 21-15 quarterfinal win over Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros.
The 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season is concluding in the United States with the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball being held through Sunday on a colorful purpose-built venue at Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. The medal bronze and gold medal matches will be played on Sunday and the awarding ceremonies for each gender will be held after the gold medal match for each gender.ASICS WSOVB
While the cornerstone of the beach volleyball celebration is the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (regular season finale of the 2016 FIVB World Tour), the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball encompasses a wide variety of additional elements . Also part of the beach festival has been live entertainment, a special celebrity center court match, an expansive vendor’s village, multiple open, junior and youth beach volleyball tournaments and the very special legends of the game tribute dinner all at the event venue. For complete details regarding the entire ASICS WSOBV lineup of events and activities including premium seating tickets, visit the event website at www.wsobv.com.FIVB LONG BEACH GRAND SLAM PURSE/POINTS
The gold medal teams at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will split $57,000 and 800 points, the silver $43,000 and 720 points, the bronze $32,000 and 640 points and fourth place $24,000 and 560 points.
At least Dalhausser and Lucena will be facing a more familiar opponent after trying to figure out their semifinal opponent on the fly.Nick Lucena of the USA smashes the ball
“Alex is one of most physical forces out here, he’s a big dude up at the net,” Dalhausser said. “With him in your face and trying to sideout in the wind, it’s tough. I’ve never played that Marco guy, but he’s a baller. No wonder they made it to the semis.
“We watched him a little bit in warmup. Usually, the first few swings, a guy will go where he wants to hit, so if he wants to hit line, he’ll hit a couple of lines. If I don’t know a guy I’ll keep an eye on his first few hits and usually that’s a telltale sign.”
The scouting report worked for a while but Caminati held his own, scrambling for 14 digs. The Americans held a 10-6 lead in the second set, but the Italians turned the match around with a 7-0 run to help them send the match to a third set.
Ranghieri and Caminati opened with a 3-1 lead and were still up, 4-3, when the storm hit. Some solid serving by Dalhausser and Lucena’s relentless pressure on the attack fueled the streak.
“He kind of got into a rhythm and we were able to get on him in the third,” Lucena said of Caminati. “You kind of see what his tendencies are and we made a little change, and Phil served them tough in the third game. We got a couple of breaks. I thought they hit a couple good shots that the refs missed, so we were fortunate.
“With Phil we go on a lot of runs. That’s probably his 11 th 11-0 run. It makes siding out easier, so I like it. But that’s tough to do.”
It might have been a surprise to many that Ranghieri and Caminati even advanced this far, but not to the Italians. In the only other tournament they’ve played together, they captured the 2015 Lucerne Open.
“I’m really happy to be playing with him,” Ranghieri said. “I was taking it as it comes, so every single match we played calm and relaxed and we rocked the tournament. I don’t realize what I’ve been doing because this is fresh. For sure when I go home I’ll realize what we’ve done. For me, I’ve been holding my breath since January. Now I’ll be able to focus on what I’ve done all season but this is one of the brightest moments of the season.”
Ranghieri and Olympic teammate Adrian Carambula will reunite next month in Toronto for the SWATCH World Tour Finals, but that didn’t stop Ranghieri from heaping praise on his substitute partner.
“The first time we played we got a gold, so actually I’m disappointed we didn’t win the semis,” Ranghieri said. “Marco has for sure a bright future in front of him because of the passion he brings on the court every match and the hard work he puts in during the week.”
The other semifinal was a matchup of teams recovering from a post-Olympic letdown, but also two teams who wanted to prove themselves once again on the world stage.
It will be Pedro/Evandro, in their 21st tournament together, looking for their third FIVB World Tour title. This after they nearly avoided the tournament.Pedro Solberg serves
“It was tough to come here, I wasn’t sure if I would come because I was so disappointed, but this is sports,” Pedro said. “You don’t see all our work in one week like last week. We have to keep it up, keep working hard. We have a nice history together and we want to do well here. It’s important for us.”
Samoilovs/Smedins will meet Ranghieri/Caminati for the bronze medal at 11:05 a.m. PDT Sunday, with the gold medal match scheduled for 3:35 p.m. PDT. ON THE HORIZON
Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there are two more events scheduled on the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. First event scheduled is in the United States--the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (Aug. 23-28) and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals (Sept. 13-18, Toronto, Canada). The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, with $100,000 going to each winning team, will feature the top eight point leaders in each gender from the current FIVB World Tour plus four wild card teams in each gender.GROWING HISTORY
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States is the 350th men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 311th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992. FIVB 2016
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar features a purse of US$8.25 million with a season that extends from last October to this October, competing at 22 venues in 12 countries. The schedule includes four FIVB Grand Slams, four Swatch FIVB Major Series events, 13 FIVB Opens and the special Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The showcase event will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil (Aug. 6-18).
The 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar started in October in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and included two more open events prior to the remainder of the schedule resuming at the FIVB Kish Island Open in Iran in February.FIVB EVENT FORMAT
Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. Country Quota playoffs returned as needed in 2015 to determine the final teams for the qualification tournament.