Phil Dalhausser, Beijing Olympics gold medalist, returned to the top of the podium today at the FIVB World Tour event in Maceió, Brazil. With long-time friend Nick Lucena at his side, the 6’9’ “Beast” started off the year with a championship title over a tenacious Brazilian tandem, Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg.
Once more, the top two powerhouses battled for the gold in a FIVB World Tour final. In this 63rd title match outing between both countries, the second-seeded Americans fended off the home country, and top-ranked favorites in a close match (21-19, 19-21, 15-10).
“The first two sets were totally different with us playing well in the first and the Brazilians in control in the second,” said Dalhausser in a FIVB press release.
Arising out of a 32-team field, both pairs swept through pool play undefeated, and then on to the single elimination rounds, en-route to the final. In front of a partisan crowd, Dalhausser and Lucena kept their composure, overcoming several missed serves.
“Evandro and Pedro are very tough to beat, especially in front of their home fans. It was hot out there today (107°F), so it was whoever could withstand the heat and humidity (90 percent).”
With this victory, Dalhausser sits in third place in the all-time FIVB World Tour victory list. While he has tallied most of these wins with his past gold medalling partner, Todd Rogers, he has notched three titles with Lucena since just last summer.
Several Olympic qualifying events remain, and this tandem is well on the way to punching a ticket to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.