Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena killing it worldwide on sand, sweep three matches at Manhattan Beach Open
MANHATTAN BEACH – Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena did not compete in the Hermosa Beach Open in July because they were in Poland toiling in an FIVB event.
Apparently, they have not been affected by any long-distance travel because they won all three of their matches Friday on the first day of main-draw action at the Manhattan Beach Open.
Dalhausser and Lucena won their first match in straight sets (21-9, 21-13) over David Smith and Nathan Yang. They then defeated Piotr Marciniak and Roberto Rodriguez by scores of 22-20, 21-14.
Dalhausser and Lucena – ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB – continued to prove their worth by sending Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner into the contender’s bracket with a 21-15, 21-8 victory to move into Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Dalhausser and Lucena are seeded third in this tournament because they have not played at every AVP stop, thanks to their FIVB schedule. But they’re playing like the best team in the world.
Lucena, out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was pleased with the way he and Dalhausser distinguished themselves.
“We got better as the (day) went along; that was our best match for sure,” he said after the win over Patterson and Brunner. “It was a little windy conditions and I thought our ball control was pretty good; Theo and Casey struggled a little bit with it. But we’re getting better.
“It’s been a long season. We have three more tournaments and we really want to push here at the end even though we’re old and a little tired.”
Lucena and Dalhausser are both 37. After this tournament, they leave for Germany for an FIVB event, then finish with the AVP’s season finale in Chicago on Aug. 31-Sept.3.
Dalhausser was stoked that he and Lucena did not lose a set Friday.
“We won all our matches in two sets, so that’s nice, especially when you’re playing three matches a day, which for us is a lot because on the (FIVB) world tour you might play one, maybe two matches a day” he said. “Three’s a lot, so it’s important for us to get through them quickly.”
These world-travelers admit all the miles in the air gets a bit tiresome.
“It wears down on you a little bit toward the end of the season,” Lucena said. “A lot of these guys have just been playing domestically and get breaks in between. But we’re fortunate enough to be playing overseas. It’s a good opportunity to make money and I’m thankful that we’re doing it.”
Dalhausser smiled when pondering what will happen after Chicago.
“It’s going to be sweet,” said Dalhausser, of Ventura. “It’s going to be confetti and trumpets are going to be playing. I can’t remember the last time we were done so early – first week in September.
“I don’t think I’ve seen Week 1 in the NFL in 15 years.”
The top-seeded men’s team of Billy Allen and Stafford Slick also advanced without a loss, as did the No. 2 team of Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb.
Fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal of Redondo Beach and Trevor Crabb also went through the first day unscathed, advancing to the quarterfinals with a straight sets (21-13, 21-14) victory over No. 5 Ryan Doherty and John Hyden.
Manhattan Beach natives Lane Carico and Alix Klineman – seeded No. 8 on the women’s side – took top-seeded April Ross and Lauren Fendrick in their respective third matches of the day. But after losing the first set, Ross and Fendrick emerged 19-21, 21-18, 15-12.
Emily Day of Torrance and Brittany Hochevar (Long Beach State) – seeded No. 2 – split the first two sets with 10th-seeded Caitlin Ledoux (Long Beach State) and Maria Salgado. Day and Hochevar took the third set and advanced to the quarterfinals. The 18-21, 21-18, 15-10 victory gave them a 3-0 record on the day.
The No. 3 and No. 4 seeded women’s teams of Betsi Flint-Kelley Larsen and Angeles Bensend-Geenua Urango, respectively, both suffered losses and were pushed into the contender’s bracket.
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