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USA takes men’s gold, Spain silver, Italy bronze at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam

In front of a packed house, USA's Phil Dalhausser, left, goes up against Spain's Pablo Herrera as Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal defeated Herrera and Adrian Gavira Saturday to win the gold at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 27, 2013—Enjoying a week on the sunny Southern California beach and the heated competition in the first international pro beach volleyball event in the United States in a decade, men’s teams from the USA earned the gold medal, Spain received the silver medal and Italy the bronze medal during Saturday’s finale of the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, double-gender tournament. Capturing gold in Long Beach was USA’s Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser, while the silver medal went to Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira and winning the bronze medal was Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo.

The women’s portion of the event ended Friday with an all-Brazilian gold medal match won by Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes over sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado. Sunday will be the final day of the special ASICS World Series Cup which features two teams from the USA along with teams from Brazil and Germany in the women’s play along with two teams from the USA and one each from Brazil and Latvia in the men’s action.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam was the 291st FIVB international men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 253rd FIVB women’s tournament since women started international competition in 1992.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returned to the USA for the first time since 2003 with the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park. With the 2013 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, in the record books, the special USA vs. the world ASICS World Series Cup, the men’s semifinals will be played at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Sunday with the women’s final at 1:30 p.m. and the men’s final at 3:00 p.m. General admission is free to the event. Meeting for the women’s cup will be Brazil’s Lima/Antunes playing against USA’s April Ross/Jennifer Kessy. VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at

Meeting for just the second time on the FIVB World Tour, USA’s fourth-seeded Rosenthal/Dalhausser powered by Spain’s 14th-seeded Herrera/Gavira in two sets, 21-15, 21-18 in a 45-minute finale. In both sets, Spain’s Herrera/Gavira kept things close until the end when USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser raised their game to pull out each set.

In the first set, Spain’s Herrera/Gavira had a two-point margin up to 12-10 but USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser tied it up at 12-12 on the way to an 11-3 run to close out the win.

After starting the second set 2-0, USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser saw Spain’s Herrera/Gavira score three straight and eventually build up a three point margin until USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser tied it up at 15-15.  As the teams jockeyed back and forth with the match tied at 16-16 and 17-17, USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser took the lead for the first time since the start of the match at 19-18. 

While both Rosenthal and Dalhausser pulled out crowd-pleasing serves, digs passes and kills, it was Dalhausser who closed out the set and the match by scoring the last three points. First he landed a cross-court kill then followed that up with a pair of emphatic textbook aces, both landing off the diving return attempts of Spain’s three-time Olympian Herrera.

For USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser, who have only played together in seven FIVB events, Saturday’s victory was their third gold medal while for Spain’s Herrera/Gavira, who were playing in their 45th FIVB event, this was their fourth silver medal and 13th final four placement. USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser finished the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam with a perfect 7-0 record and Spain’s Herrera/Gavira ended up 6-2 in Long Beach.

Individually, Rosenthal, who has played in 72 FIVB tournaments in 10 seasons, this was his 18th career final four and seventh gold medal. For Dalhausser, this was his 68th FIVB tournament in 10 seasons, his 47th career FIVB final four and 26th gold medal.

Following their gold medal victory, Rosenthal commented, “It was a lot of fun to play in front of our hometown fans and family. It usually happens that the team you practice against is usually the team you end up facing towards the end of the tournament. That is just how it happened for us today, we were practicing against Pablo and Adrian earlier this week and sure enough we meet in the finals. It was a great match, well played by both sides. Luckily for us we made a few plays at the end to come out on top.”

Avenging two earlier defeats this season on the FIVB World Tour, Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo overcame host nation favorites top-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, 21-16, 21-13 in 37 minutes. All veteran players, this is the first season for Gibb/Patterson to be playing together on the FIVB World Tour.

With Nicolai demonstrating his tremendous and serving blocking abilities and Lupo flying around the court for spectacular digs, and kills, the Italians played a near perfect match as Gibb/Patterson didn’t seem to have an answer which attributed to them having a more than amount of unforced errors.

For Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo, this was their 24th FIVB tournament as a team and the win gave them their third bronze medal and sixth final four placement and third of this season. The duo also finished in fifth place in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

For USA’s Gibb/Patterson, this was their fourth final four finish in just their eighth tournament as a team and first fourth place. For their careers, this was Gibb’s 22nd FIVB final four and fourth fourth-place finish. For Patterson, Long Beach was his fourth FIVB final four and first fourth place finish.

The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS was the showcase part of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. Also part of the event is the inaugural ASICS World Series Cup featuring two teams in each gender from the USA against two international teams. In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Sports Network and NBC TV Network.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes seven Open events, five double-gender and two women-only. There is a double-gender FIVB Open event being playing this week as well in Anapa, Russia.

After another week off next week, the 10-Grand Slam 2013 FIVB World Tour will continue in two weeks in Germany at the $440,000 FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. The season finale of the tour will be in Brazil in mid-October at the $440,000 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

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