Maceió, Brazil, February 28, 2016 - It was another “classic confrontation” pitting Brazil against the United States for a men’s gold medal on the FIVB World Tour, and the final here Sunday on the Pajuçara courts in front of the Hotel Enseada saw Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena out-lasting Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg for the top spot on the $150,000 Maceió Open.
The second-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena, who had reached a FIVB World Tour gold medal match for the seventh-time in their last eight international starts together, posted a 2-1 (21-19, 19-21 and 15-10) win in 55 minutes over the top-seeded Evandro and Pedro to claim the $11,000 first place prize. The Brazilians shared $8,000 for finishing second.
THREE GOLD MEDALS
The Americans have now won three of the seven finals that they have competed in since reuniting as partners last August. The only non-podium placement for Dalhausser and Lucena was a fifth-place at the Polish Grand Slam in Olsztyn and the end of August. The Americans also claimed “open” titles in China (Xiamen in September) and Mexico (Puerto Vallarta in October).
“The first two sets were totally different with us playing well in the first and the Brazilians in control in the second,” said Dalhausser, who ranks third all-time on the men’s FIVB World Tour gold medal list with 31 titles. Only legendary Brazilians Emanuel Rego (77) and Ricardo Santos (56) have more men’s individual titles than Dalhausser.
“It was a great crowd today,” added Lucena, who has won all his gold medals internationally with Dalhausser. “Evandro and Pedro are very tough to beat, especially in front of their home fans. It was hot out there today, so it was whoever could withstand the heat and humidity.”SET BREAKDOWN
The first set had the Americans leading 19-15 when Evandro and Pedro tied it at 19s. A Lucena cut shot and a Dalhausser attack between the Brazilians won the set. The Brazilians never trailed in the second set as Evandro’s service game saw the host country pair jump out to quick 4-0 and 5-1 leads. Dalhausser and Lucena gained control of the third set at 12-9 with the Brazilians never closer than two points to the end of the match.BRAZIL STILL LEADS SERIES
Sunday’s final was the first meeting between the two teams on the international tour as the two countries were playing each other for the 63rd-time in a men’s FIVB World Tour finale. Brazil leads the title series 32-31. Individually, Dalhausser has now faced Pedro 23 times on the FIVB World Tour with four different partners and has now posted 16 wins against his Brazilian rival. Three of the meetings were in gold medal finals with Dalhausser now winning twice.
Lucena did face Evandro and Pedro with Theo Brunner at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague where the Brazilians won the bronze medal match. Dalhausser, the Beijing 2008 Olympic and FIVB 2007 world champions with Todd Rogers, missed the 2015 Dutch worlds due to injury.BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
The Americans advanced to the finals by defeating 11th-seeded Vitor Felipe and Alvaro Filho of Brazil 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 15-10) in a 58-minute match Saturday evening. Evandro and Pedro, who were playing in their third FIVB World Tour gold medal match, advanced to the finale Saturday with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win in 38 minutes over 28th-seeded compatriots Saymon Barbosa and Gustavo Carvalhaes.
In the Maceió Open men’s bronze medal match, Saymon and Guto posted a 2-0 (21-18, 25-23) win in 55 minutes over Vitor and Alvaro. Saymon and Guto, who had to win a qualifying match Tuesday to compete in the Main Draw, split $6,000 for third place with their compatriots sharing $4,500 for their fourth-place finish. WEEK OFF
The FIVB World Tour now takes a week off before resuming competition March 8-13 on famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the first grand slam event on the 2015-2016 international beach volleyball calendar with an $800,000 purse. After Rio, the international circuit moves up the Brazil coast to Vitoria for another $150,000 event March 15-20.