FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Puerto Vallarta Open | 6 - 11 October 2015


Press release

Top men’s seeds win two pool play matches at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open

Mexico's Juan Virgen, right, playing with Ulises Oliveros, the brother of his injured teammate Lombardo Oliveros, came from behind in three sets to defeat Israel in their second pool play match Wednesday at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, October 7, 2015 — Basking in the glowing warmth of the Mexican sun, three teams from the United States lead eight men’s duos from six countries in winning their first two of three round-robin pool play matches Wednesday at the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, the season opening event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

The double-gender event, the first of three tournaments on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour schedule, is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built event site on Playa Camarones. Back in Puerto Vallarta for the second straight year, the FIVB World Tour is visiting Mexico for the sixth time for men and the sixth time for women, starting the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open were 49 men’s teams from 20 countries along with 45 women’s teams from 21 countries.

Leading the eight pools with twin wins each on Wednesday were Netherlands’ top-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, USA’s second-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, USA’s fourth-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, Italy’s fifth-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula, USA’s sixth-seeded John Hyden/Tri Bourne, Chile’s ninth-seeded cousins Marco Gimalt/Esteben Grimalt, Germany’s 10th-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen and Argentina’s 14th-seeded Ian Mehamed/Nicolas Capogrosso.

Also undefeated in pool play at 2-0 but second in their respective pool standings because of tiebreakers are Netherland’s third-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Poland’s 11th-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak and Latvia’s 13th-seeded Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open started Tuesday with a qualification tournament for men on and the women’s on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw followed by two days of round robin pool play for each gender. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) will advance from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds. Men’s pool play will be held Wednesday, Thursday along with the round of 16 and the men’s quarterfinals will be played on Friday. On Saturday will be the men’s semifinals and men’s medal matches on Sunday.

The women’s pool play matches will be played on Thursday and Friday with the first round of eliminations on Friday as well. The women’s quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on Saturday and the event will conclude with the women’s medal matches on Sunday.

Continuing to improve rapidly in their quest to make the U.S. Olympic team for next year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games since becoming a team just eight events ago, USA’s newest major team of fourth-seeded Lucena/Dalhausser made relatively quick work of qualification teams from Austria and Germany on the first day of pool play in the draining heat of center court.  While pleasant Pacific Ocean breezes comforted teams playing on the outer three courts, USA’s Lucena/Dalhausser worked hard to get through with their work on the windless Playa Camarones stadium court.

Opening up their round-robin play, USA’s Lucena/Dalhausser defeated two surprising emerging teams who emerged from Tuesday’s qualification tournament.  In their first match, the Americans defeated Austria’s 29th-seeded Helmut Moser/Florian Schnetzer in straight sets, 21-17, 21-11 in 37 minutes.  In Tuesday’s qualification tournament, the Austrians won twice the last being a stunning win over USA’s top-seeded qualification team of Ryan Doherty/John Mayer.

In the early afternoon, USA’s Lucena/Dalhausser overcame the heat and quickly dispatched Germany’s 20th-seeded twin brothers Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz, 21-14, 21-16 in 35 minutes.

Neither match seemed in doubt as the Americans made few mistakes and played consistently, hoping to get out of the heat as quickly as possible. This is just their eighth tournament as a team and in their first seven they earned one gold medal and three silvers, including last week in the USA in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals

Bahia de Banderas saw a few seed breakthroughs but none more exciting the victory by Mexico’s Ulises Ontiveros/Juan Virgen who came from behind in their second match of the day to thrill an excited Playa Camarones stadium crowd with a come-from-behind three-set win over Israel’s 24th-seeded Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman, 15-21, 21-19 and 15-10 in 53 minutes. Seeded eighth as the highest-ranked host country team, Virgen is play for the first time with a different Ontiveros as Ulises’ older brother Lombardo is out with an arm injury.

Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros won the gold medal at this year’s Pan American Games in Canada and won the bronze medal at last year’s FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open. Based on their original seeding of ninth before Lombardo’s arm injury suffered a few weeks ago, the Mexican team would have been top seeded as the host nation.

In their first match on the FIVB World Tour earlier Wednesday, U. Ontiveros/Virgen lost to Austria’s 25th-seeded Thomas Kunert/Christoph Dressler in straight sets, 11-21, 19-21 in 44 minutes.

Mexico’s U. Ontiveros/Virgen complete pool play on Thursday at 2:40 p.m. in the stadium court against Chile’s ninth-seeded Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt.  The top three of four teams in each pool advance to single-elimination play that also starts on Thursday.

Following their team’s successful first day in Puerto Vallarta, USA’s Lucena/Dalhausser both had things to say after their last match of the day.
Maybe because he wears No. 1 on his jersey, Lucena spoke first afterwards saying, “it was so hot on the center court with no breeze coming through it was like a furnace and was just wanted to get through two matches and we did and we are pleased with that. The big fella (Dalhausser) really blocked well today and we didn’t make hardly any mistakes.  We are definitely on a mission to get as many points as we can and make our U.S. Olympic team for 2016.”

Dalhausser, the Olympic gold medalist in 2008 with Todd Rogers and an Olympian in 2012 as well, was equally as pleased with the results of their first two matches.

He commented, saying, “This tournament in Puerto Vallarta is helping us move forward towards out mission to earn a spot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. I still have some bad finishes from earlier of the year that they need to get rid of so it also helps us with our overall points and ranking. Nick and I know each other so well, we kind of pace ourselves well which helps us play more consistently.”

Enjoying the enthusiasm of the home-country crowd and winning a match without his regular teammate, Virgen commented following his team’s match, “First of all we are focusing on getting into the next round we still have one more match to play, nothing's done, we might have to go to tiebreakers to decide who advances so we have to go out the and fight for the pass during our match tomorrow with Chile. It is hard to play without Lombardo but Ulises has stepped in and worked hard to make his brother proud.  The crowd cheering for us helped today, and it felt good for both of us to get a win in pool play.”

As the host nation for the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, Mexico has three men’s teams that were pre-seeded into the main draw and two more teams in the qualification tournament. Mexico’s main draw teams are eighth-seeded Ulises Virgen/Ulises Ontiveros, 30th-seeded Joe Rubio/Josue Gaxiola and 32nd-seeded Ricardo Galindo/Juan Revuelta. Men’s teams in the qualifier from Mexico were, Raymond Stephens/Miguel Sarabia and Elvis Perez/Edwin Valencia. The two qualifying teams were eliminated in the first round on Tuesday.

The gold medal team in each gender at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open is the 330th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 294th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

Puerto Vallarta is one of three cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Acapulco and Rosarito Beach.

Prior to last year’s Puerto Vallarta event, Acapulco had FIVB World Tour events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito Beach hosted a FIVB World Tour stop in 2000. In 2014, Acapulco returned to the FIVB international calendar, hosting the inaugural 17U FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, one of four age-group world championships held every other year by the FIVB.

Last year’s gold medal winners in the inaugural FIVB World Tour event in Puerto Vallarta were Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins for the men and Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas for the women.

In the first five FIVB World Tour events held in Mexico, Brazil and the United States have earned 23 of the 30 total medals.

Brazil leads the way in FIVB World Tour stops in Mexico, winning 13 total medals (five gold medals, five silvers and three bronze) followed by the USA with 10 total medals (four gold, three silver and three bronze).

By gender, Brazil has won seven men’s medals followed by the USA with five and with one each men’s medal in Mexico are Italy, Latvia and Mexico. Brazil has won six women’s medals followed by the USA with five, Australia with two and with one women’s medal each in Mexico have been duos from China and Norway.

After the season-opening event in Puerto Vallarta, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with placement points counting in the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, continues with the two remaining 2016 FIVB World Tour events on the 2015 portion of the schedule. The first will be the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (Oct. 20-25) and the final event in 2015 will be the men’s only $75,000 FIVB Doha Open in Qatar (Nov. 9-13).

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