LONG BEACH, Calif. — A day earlier, Phil Dalhausser reasoned that he and partner Nick Lucena play better when coming off a poor performance.
To wit: After finishing in a tie for ninth at FIVB Porec, a week later they won FIVB Gstaad.
Now the Americans have a dilemma, because after winning the World Series of Beach Volleyball’s FIVB Presidents Cup on Sunday afternoon, they’ve gone back-to-back and are flying high.
“I don’t know,” Dalhausser said with a smile. “There are two ways to look at it. You’re playing well and you have a lot of momentum and you’re moving forward. Or you become content a little bit and the desire isn’t there or the fire, so hopefully we can go option A . That’s the plan.”
So after beating “S x 2,” Canadians, Sam Pedlow and Sam Pedlow 21-18, 21-15, pretty much everyone in this tournament flies to Poland on Monday for the FIVB Poland in Olsztyn, a four-star event preceding the FIVB World Beach Championships in Vienna.
Earlier Sunday Dalhausser, the 6-foot-9, 37-year-old, and the 6-1, 37-year-old Lucena ousted fellow Americans Theo Brunner and Casey Patterson 21-11, 21-19. And in the foreign semis the Canadians beat Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland 16-21, 21-15, 15-11.
And in the bronze-medal match, the Poles beat Brunner-Patterson 20-22, 21-15, 15-13.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate and are on a pretty good run,” Lucena said. “When we’re siding out and playing like that, we’re tough to beat. But any team can beat us.
“Hopefully we can carry it in to Worlds and first in Poland. If we play at this level we’ll be tough to beat.”
This was the first time any men’s team went back-to-back in FIVB events.
“This was not a full field,” Lucena said. “There were 16 teams (eight per gender), half of them American, so that’s not a full field. You put a full field out there it’s a tougher scenario.
Nonetheless, and although this was considered an exhibition, Dalhausser and Lucena split $50,000, $10,000 more than they won in Gstaad.
Pedlow thought his team played well all week but wasn’t as sharp in the final.
“But Phil was Phil today,” Pedlow said. “He got a few touches that maybe other guys weren’t getting here
“But we battled and we accomplished what we wanted as a team, being in the final on Sunday, so I’m proud of that.”
Brunner, a 6-foot-7 32-year-old, said he and first-year partner Patterson, a 6-6 37-year-old, are in a good place as a team.
“We’ve had kind of an up-and-down year but we’ve had a couple of really good tournaments with wins over really good teams,” Brunner said.
He gave a lot of credit to a side switch two weeks ago by the teammates, Brunner, the former college middle, moving to the right and Patterson to the left.
“We’re just trying to iron that out and see if it works, but it feels pretty good,” Brunner said, “so we’ll probably stick with it. Obviously we would have liked to have done a little better here and finished with a medal, but it was great getting all that experience against high-level teams.”
Patterson, who said he’s more comfortable on the left, agreed, especially considering the side switch.
“How we played this tournament is pretty good,” Patterson said.
“Theo is a big dude and can get up and fly. He can jump and stuff easier than I can, so he can play any side and jump and swing. Me being somewhat of a veteran, I pride myself on being a pretty good setter, so I can help him transition back to the right a little easier.”