FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Moscow Grand Slam 2016 | 24 - 29 May 2016

#MoscowGS


Press release

Dalhausser’s Road to Rio redirected


American Olympian with a Mikasa reception last May 28 at the Moscow Open where he suffered a left oblique muscle strain.

Moscow, Russia, May 22, 2016 - At this time last year at the 2015 FIVB World Tour stop in the Russian capital, the Road to Rio looked a lot different for two-time American Olympian Phil Dalhausser.

A winner of the Moscow Grand Slam in July 2008 with his gold medal winning partner at the Beijing Olympic Games Todd Rogers, Dalhausser and then-teammate Sean Rosenthal opened play here 51 weeks ago on the featured court at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre by losing 2-0 (21-19, 21-14) in 34 minutes to Russian teenagers Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin.

Despite splitting a pair of pool play matches the next day (May 28) against teams from Austria and Germany, the top-seeded Dalhausser and Rosenthal were sent packing after being eliminated from the 2015 Moscow Grand Slam to place 25th for the American duo’s worst finish together on the international circuit.

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OBLIQUE STRAIN

During their final Moscow match that resulted in a 2-1 (20- 22, 21-18, 15-7) setback in 53 minutes to Alexander Walkenhorst and Stefan Windscheif of Germany, Dalhausser strained his left oblique muscle that forced him to miss the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Netherlands along with three SWATCH Major stops in Croatia, Norway and Switzerland, and the United States Grand Slam in St. Petersburg.

Was the 2015 Moscow Grand Slam was the beginning of the end for Dalhausser/Rosenthal partnership that produced six gold medal and eight podium placements in 20 FIVB World Tour events together?  The pair did play in one more FIVB stop together two months later at the Yokohama Grand Slam where they placed ninth at the end of July.

“I think if he doesn’t have that oblique injury, we’re out playing and we’re back to where we’ve been the last two years, as the No. 1 team in the world,” Rosenthal said, according to Redbull.com.  “When we weren’t injured, we were the best team in the world.”

Added Dalhausser, according to Redbull.com, “when we first got together, everyone was saying we were going to win every event - which didn’t happen.  But we did win the most events on the World Tour in 2013 and 2014.  We were really inconsistent.  We had some really bad finishes, and we had some good finishes.”


NICK THE QUICK

Dalhausser is now playing with Nick Lucena as the pair enters this year’s Moscow Grand Slam needing one more international start to satisfy the qualification requirement of playing in 12 FIVB World Tour together to be considered for a berth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Since rekindling their partnership last August, Dalhausser and Lucena have not finished lower than fifth in a FIVB event with four gold medals and nine podium placements to their credit.

“Nick plays a real similar game as my old partner Todd,” Dalhausser said, according to Redbull.com.  “He’s the same type of player, same style. So I don’t think we’ll have a problem.”

Before Dalhausser teamed with Rogers for a magical run (2006-2012) of 42 domestic and 23 international titles together highlighted by gold medals at the 2007 FIVB World Championships in Switzerland and at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, he and Lucena had played three seasons (2003-2005) on the American domestic tour with two international events together.

So with a “new/old” partner and returning to Moscow, does Dalhausser have any anxiety or bad memories?

"Not at all.  It just happened to be Moscow where we both got hurt,” said the 36-year old Dalhausser.  “I think what had to do with it was we (Sean and Phil) both had to jump on a plane right after New Orleans (playing in an American domestic event), we get into Moscow Monday night and had to play Wednesday morning.  It was just a little crazy.”

ALMOST THE SAME

Dalhausser faces almost the same Moscow situation this year with Lucena as the pair placed third at last week’s FIVB World Tour stop in the United States at the Cincinnati Open where the event ended Saturday evening as compared to the New Orleans 2015 domestic tournament that concluded on a Sunday afternoon.

“We leave almost a day earlier this time,” said Dalhausser after receiving his 58th FIVB medal in 93 world tour starts since first play internationally in 2004.  “We have a more relaxing trip this time and more time to recover.  Last year, we literally jumped into the pool, changed, got dressed up and left for Moscow.  I was 35 last year and my body can’t do that.  Maybe if I was 25 I would bounce right back but not anymore.”

When pool play for men start Wednesday at the 2016 Moscow Grand Slam, Dalhausser and Lucena will immediately add 160 points to their provisional Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying total to rank second on the list, excluding Brazilians, with 5,640 points.  Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands top the list of non-Brazilians on the Rio rankings with 5,980 points and can only improve their Copacabana calculation with a ninth-place-or-higher finish in Moscow this week.

With their 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) win in 33 minutes over American rivals John Mayer and Ryan Doherty, Dalhausser and Lucena improved their 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour match record to 37-4.  The pair has won 13 of their last 14 international matches with the lone setback being to Canadians Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter 2-1 (17-21, 21-10, 12-15) in a 45-minute Cincy semi-final match.  Since returning to FIVB action together, Dalhausser and Lucena have a 66-11 match mark.


As for placing third in the Cincinnati Open presented by AVP, Dalhausser said “it’s a little bittersweet.  We would have liked to have been playing in the finals but at least we went out with a win, with a bronze, and we’ll take some hardware over to Moscow.  This finish helped us.  I’m not going to say we’re a lock, but we’re looking pretty good to qualify.”

So with a redirected path Rio, Dalhausser is looking forward his sixth visit Moscow with a different partner and seeking for a different result in the Russian capital this week.

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