FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Long Beach Grand Slam | 18 - 23 August 2015


Press release

American’s tough call

Manhattan Beach, Calif., USA, Aug. 15, 2015 – It’s a tough call for some of the best beach volleyball players in the United States as they arrived at their spiritual home this weekend.

They all want to capture the storied AVP Manhattan Beach Open, the fabled Southern California tournament that put the sport on the map when it debuted in 1960. But there’s another giant prize looming on the immediate horizon.

That’s the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, where the players will continue their quest for Olympic qualifying at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, which opens on Alamitos Beach next week.

And it’s not going to be easy for two-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser, who is playing for only the second time since switch partner Sean Rosenthal for longtime buddy Nick Lucena.

“We got back from (Yokohama) Japan and I landed and saw an e-mail from Nick and he wanted to see if I was interested in playing with him,” Dalhausser said. “Nick is playing as one of the best defenders in the world and he’s my buddy and I always envisioned myself finishing my career with him. I was just like, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

“Sean and I kind of fell flat in Japan and it just didn’t seem right. I calculated, I weighed out all the pros and cons and everything to do and all that. There were a lot of pros for Nick.”

Lucena and Dalhausser arrived to California from Florida as partners in 2003, then went their separate ways.

“You know what? I’ve probably written it a dozen times, I just never sent it,” Lucena said of the e-mail. “I felt it was time because obviously I’m making a move and dropping a good partner in Theo and good position in the Olympic race, and then now I go from kind of like a coach (with) every pressure on Theo to now I know I’m getting every serve. It took me a while to get mentally ready for it and I felt like I was ready for it.”

The duo has earned a wild-card spot in the Long Beach Grand Slam.

Dalhausser and Lucena, who reached the final of the AVP Seattle Open last week, reached the Manhattan semifinals with two more victories on Saturday. The finals are on Sunday.

Dalhausser is seeking his fifth Manhattan Beach title and Lucena his first.

“Obviously you want to win Manhattan, there’s nothing like it,” Lucena said. “But we’ve got a Grand Slam in Long Beach and we want to prepare for that. It’ll take some time, but Phil’s such a great player that he’s easy to play with.”

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