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Americans brewing changes

Sean Rosenthal (left) and Phil Dalhausser in action at the Grand Slam in Moscow
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 28, 2015 - It has been an interesting year for the top American teams on the 2015 international beach volleyball circuit.
The "interest" is not due to performance in most part, but because of injuries that began in the first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam event in 2015 in Moscow where Olympic and world champions Kerri Walsh Jennings and Phil Dalhausser both exited the event in the Russian capital with injuries.
While Walsh Jennings' right shoulder is on the mend and she is expected to return with April Ross at next month's World Tour stop in Long Beach (August 18-23), Dalhausser is splitting with Sean Rosenthal and is expected to return to the international event in southern California with Nick Lucena.
In an article posted on, Khalil Garriott wrote that "Rosenthal believes Dalhausser's previous oblique injury was a big factor in the split."  A two-time Olympian, Rosenthal was quoted in the article as saying he thought that if Dalhausser "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."
Playing together since the start of the 2013 season, Dalhausser and Rosenthal won six of 20 FIVB World Tour events together with eight podium placements. The pair placed 25th in the Moscow event when Dalhausser suffered the oblique injury and the tandem returned to action last week in Japan where they placed ninth by winning two of five matches.
According to the article, "Dalhausser will return to playing with Nick Lucena, his college friend and former partner dating to 2003. Rosenthal said he'll likely play on the right side with new partner Theo Brunner."

Lucena and Brunner, who also finished ninth in Yokohama, were final four participants at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015 and are currently the ninth-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour.  Lucena and Brunner, who formed their partnership at the end of the 2014 season, have won 36 of 50 matches this season with a bronze medal finish last month at the United States Grand Slam in St. Petersburg.
Continuing with the article, Rosenthal was quoted as saying "Right now, we need to come out of the gates playing well and I think a side switch would put us a couple steps back. We need to keep making steps forward.  When we weren’t injured, we (Dalhausser and Rosenthal) were the best team in the world.  We’ve had to deal with some injuries, and I don’t think either of us have had to do that our whole career, so that put a little more pressure on us: 'Why aren’t they winning all the time? Why aren’t they the best team in the world?' When we’re healthy, we were. So I think injuries held us back a little bit from being what most people thought we could be, and maybe even what we thought we could be."
Dalhausser was quoted as saying "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."
As a final thought in the article, Dalhausser said "Nick plays a real similar game as my old partner Todd (Rogers). He’s the same type of player, same style. So I don't think we'll have a problem."
Prior to playing with Rogers, Dalhausser and Lucena played in two FIVB World Tour and 27 domestic events together. Starting in 2006 through the London 2012 Olympic Games, Dalhausser and Rogers partnered in 125 domestic and international events with 65 titles. The 23 FIVB World Tour gold medals by Dalhausser and Rogers are the second most in circuit history behind the 33 netted by the legendary Brazilian pair of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos.


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