The Olympic qualification period ended Sunday in Hamburg and 17 of the 24 spots are now official.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena (USA) took the gold medal with a 21-16, 21-15 semifinal win over reigning FIVB World champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and a 29-27, 21-12 championship-match victory over the Netherlands Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen.
Dalhausser/Lucena completed the Olympic qualification process in third place with 6,280 points. Casey Patterson/Jake Gibb finish in sixth with 5,680 points.
Sunday’s bronze went to Russians Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov, who outplayed Brazilians Cerutti/Schmidt 15-21, 22-20, 15-10.
In the gold medal match both teams sided out at a high level and neither led by more than three points. Brouwer/Meeuwsen had their first game point at 20-19, but Lucena was up to the task and held the Dutch at bay with five consecutive game-saving sideouts. At 24-24, Lucena made a critical dig, and eventually earned a U.S. game point on a scramble play to score 25-24. It was Brouwer/Meeuwsen’s time to be stubborn, and they saved game point four times until a Dalhausser ace ended the set 29-27.
The second set was all USA. Tough serving, effective blocking, and a pair of hitting errors all went in favor of the USA, and Dalhausser/Lucena earned their third gold medal of the year 21-12.
With the completion of the Olympic qualification period, 17 teams have qualified for the Olympics. Five or the last seven teams will be determined at their respective Continental Cups; the NorCECA Continental Cup is in Acapulco, Mexico, from June 20-26. The final two spots are reserved for the finalists in the World Olympic Qualification Cup in Sochi, Russia, July 6-10.
The matchup of Dalhausser/Lucena and the Brazilians certainly wont be their last this summer.
it was a perfect scenario, we executed the game plan, Dalhausser said of the win over the Brazilians. Im sure well play them again at some point and it will be way closer than that.
Nick sided out great. That was the difference in my opinion. There were a couple times where they had a couple-point runs and Nick stopped it with a clean sideout and he dug a bunch of balls. It was not just me at the net.
We tried to make pressure to their side and they didnt feel anything in both sets from the beginning to the end, Schmidt said. Well forget about it and now we are concentrating on third place.
We made a lot of mistakes and put them in a comfortable situation all the time. The first set we almost gave them comfort. For the second set we started well at the beginning but after six or seven points we missed like four points in a row so it put them in a comfortable situation with one set already done. With no pressure it’s easy to play. Well try to be more concentrated and focused for the future confrontations because this one we almost gave to them.
The second semifinal pitted Brouwer/Meeuwsen, the hardest-hitting team on tour, against Semenov/Krasilnikov (Russia). 6-foot-11 blocker Semenov and the 6-5 Krasilnikov. But Brouwer/Meeuwsen won the serve/pass game to reach the gold medal final 21-18, 21-16.