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Salgado/Schmidt claim men’s gold at FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam

Brazil's Pedro Salgado kills the Mikasa against USA's Phil Dalhausser as Salgado and Bruno Schmidt defeated USA to win the gold medal Sunday over Phil Dalhausser and Casey Jennings at the São Paulo Grand Slam.

São Paulo, Brazil, October 13, 2013 – It took three sets like it did earlier in the week in pool play, but once again Brazil’s second-seeded Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt outlasted USA’s 18th-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Casey Jennings Sunday to capture the gold medal during the final day of the $440,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam double-gender tournament as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returned to Brazil for the 27th consecutive year.

With the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resuming in South America after a six-week hiatus, the gold medal matches in each gender of the ninth 2013 FIVB Grand Slam event were played Sunday morning. The event was held for the first time in São Paulo in the purpose-built site that is located on the expansive grounds of Parque Villa Lobos on the west side of the massive city.

Keeping ahead in the race for the season point championship Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt needed the full three sets, but squeezed past USA’s surprise team of the tournament Dalhausser/Jennings for the second time in four days, this time by a score of 23-21, 19-21, 15-13 in 67 minutes, the longest match of the tournament. Although pushed to three sets in three of their matches in the tournament including twice by the Americans, Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt completed their run to the title with an unblemished 7-0 record. USA’s improbable Dalhausser/Jennings duo earned a 6-2 record during the stay in São Paulo.

Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt were stretched to three sets on Thursday as well to defeat USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings during pool play, 21-12, 19-21, 15-12 in 58 minutes.

For winning the gold medal Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt will also receive the first place purse of $33,000 while USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings earned $22,000 for the silver.

Sunday’s gold medal match between the Brazilians and the Americans was closer than their first encounter. The first set was tied point for point 16 times including the first 11 points and the lead changed hands four times.  The second set was even closer with 17 ties and eight lead changes before it was decided. In the deciding third set, Brazil pounded away to build up an 8-4 lead and while never taking the lead, USA did came back from an 8-4 deficit to tie the match at 11-11.

Salgado enthusiastically said following the grueling match, “I am so excited. It was a special Sunday for me. Playing against Casey in the final was a dream for me. He is one of my best friends, part of my family. He and Phil make a very competitive team. I am so happy to win this title at home.”

When Dalhausser’s regular teammate this year - Sean Rosenthal - withdrew from the tournament last Saturday with an injury, journeyman Jennings gladly accepted the opportunity to not only play but to watch in person his wife Kerri Walsh Jennings win the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam women’s gold medal on Sunday by defeating Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst in three sets. Casey and Kerri were the first-ever couple in the 27-year history of the FIVB World Tour to both play in their respective gold medal matches in the same event.

Both FIVB veterans, Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt were playing in their 11th FIVB World Tour event together and playing consistently to lead the FIVB season rankings, this was their sixth FIVB final four appearance as a team and they now have two gold medals, two silvers, one bronze and one fourth place finish. Individually, this was the 108th career FIVB World Tour event for Salgado, his 36th FIVB final four with 13 gold medals and seven silvers. Schmidt was playing in his 74th FIVB career event, his 12th FIVB final four and now has two golds and four silver medals.  Earlier in their careers, Salgado/Schmidt teamed up to win the gold medal at the 2006 FIVB U21 World Championships in Myslowice, Poland.

Both FIVB veterans, USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings were playing in just their first FIVB World Tour event. Individually, this was Dalhausser’s 70th career FIVB World Tour event, his 48th FIVB final four and he now has 26 gold and eight silver medals. For Jennings, this was his 62nd career FIVB World Tour event, his fifth FIVB final four and he now has one gold and two silver medals.

On Saturday, Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins overpowered Spain’s fifth-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, 21-14, 21-12 in just 29 minutes to win the bronze medal.

After their bronze medal victory, Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins left São Paulo with a 6-1 record in the tournament, a third place finish and $16,500 in prize money. After their loss in the bronze medal match, Spain’s Herrerra/Gavira will leave São Paulo with a 4-4 record in the tournament, an official fourth-place finish and $12,900 in prize money.

São Paulo PURSE
This year’s FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam will have the semifinals and bronze medal matches for both genders on Saturday and the gold medal matches for both on Sunday. The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900.

The FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam marks the 35th time that Brazil has hosted a men’s and 30th time Brazil has hosted a women’s FIVB international beach volleyball world tour event. Brazil has staged a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event every year since the start of the international circuit for men in 1987 and women in 1992. It is also the 295th FIVB World Tour men’s tournament and 257th women’s tournament.

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 counting towards FIVB points/earnings are five Open events (four double-gender tournaments and one women-only). The last of 10 FIVB World Tour Grand Slams on the 2013 Grand Slam schedule will be held in China Oct. 22-27 at the double-gender $440,000 FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam.

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