Surprise, surprise, a funny thing happened on the way to the men’s medal matches Friday as beach volleyball duos from Spain and the United States emerged from semifinal wins to take center stage during Saturday’s gold medal finale at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, double-gender tournament. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. Meeting in Saturday’s gold medal match will be USA’S fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser meeting Spain’s 14th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. Saturday’s schedule will include the men’s bronze and gold medal matches along with the women’s semifinals of the special ASICS World Series Cup which will feature two teams from the USA in one semifinal along with teams from Brazil and Germany in the other. The two winners will meet in the cup final on Sunday. The women’s portion of the event ended Friday with an all-Brazilian gold medal match won in three sets and 61 minutesby Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes over sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado.
The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time since 2003. With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park on East Lakeshore Drive. Matches at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, are scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. Saturday with the men’s bronze medal match of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam at 11:00 a.m. and the men’s gold medal grand slam match closing the day’s competition at 2:00 p.m.
In the special USA vs. the world ASICS World Series Cup, the women’s semifinals will be played at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday. While the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS concludes on Saturday, The ASICS World Series Cup on Sunday, the event finishes with the men’s semifinals at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., 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. VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at www.wsobv.com.
Battling through three matches on Friday, in the first semifinal Friday afternoon, Spain’s 14th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira came from behind to upset Italy’s sixth-seeded Olympians Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo in three long sets, 24-26, 21-19, 15-13 in 61 minutes.
In the battle of America in the final semifinal, USA’s fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser intensely battled to upset their USA top-seeded compatriots Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson in two tough sets, 21-16, 21-19 in 55 minutes. While it looked like the dramatic match might go three sets with the score tied at 19-19, Dalhausser made sure it ended by scoring his team’s final two points, first on a voracious block and the closer on a powerful service ace. In the semi, Dalhausser had three aces and four blocks while teammate Rosenthal recorded 23 kills and 15 digs.
After their crowd-pleasing victory, USA’s Rosenthal said, “It has been a battle, we played three matches today so that bring on the fatigue but we do get boost of adrenaline knowing that we are playing at home in front of everyone. It was a good match with Jake and Casey, well played by both sides it just happened that we made some key plays at the end to close out each set. It happens in volleyball, you just have to go in knowing that it’s only another match. They are having a great season and we are having a pretty good one too.”
BRONZE MEDAL MATCHUP
In Saturday’s 11 a.m. FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam bronze medal match it will be USA’s Gibb/Patterson playing against Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo. All veteran players, Gibb/Patterson are a new team this season.
QUARTERFINALS In the second of three matches for Friday’s winning teams, USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser held on to knock off Brazil’s fifth-seeded 2011 FIVB World Champions Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, 22-20, 14-21, 15-9 in 53 minutes; USA’s Gibb/ Patterson beat Norway’s 18th-seeded Iver Horrem/Geir Eithun, 21-13, 21-17 in 36 minutes; Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo stood their ground against Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins to win in three sets, 21-17, 19-21, 16-14 in 50 minutes and Spain’s gritty Herrera/ Gavira fought and scrapped their way past Italy’s 32nd-seeded Alex Ranghieri/Andrea Tomatis, 21-12, 17-21, 15-10 in 48 minutes
ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
Friday’s long day began early with the men’s round of 16 that heated up the sand for the day’s competition with the losing teams being eliminated and credited with official ninth-place finishes.
In the boiling action, in the first four matches of the round, USA’s Gibb/Patterson stopped Germany’s 13th-seeded Mischa Urbatzka/Markus Bockermann, 21-12, 21-15 in 34 minutes; Norway’s Horrem/ Eithun upset Austria’s eighth-seeded Robin Seidl/Alexander Huber, 21-18, 13-21, 20-18 in 61 minutes; Brazil’s Alison/Rego eliminated USA’s 11th-seeded Todd Rogers/Ryan Doherty, 21-9, 21-15 in 31 minutes and USA’s Rosenthal/Dalhausser charged past Canada’s 12th-seeded Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton, 21-13, 21-15 in 38 minutes.
The second four matches in the round of 16, Latvia’s Samoilovs/ Smedins defeated Brazil’s seventh-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, 22-20, 21-15 in 43 minutes; Italy’s Nicolai/ Lupo toppled Brazil’s ninth-seeded Edson Barros/Alvaro Filho, 21-14, 12-21, 16-14 in 46 minutes; Italy’s Ranghieri/Tomatis stunned Australia’s 10th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa, 16-21, 23-21, 18-16 in 56 minutes and Spain’s Herrera/Gavira knocked out Brazil’s second-seeded 2013 FIVB World Tour point leaders Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt.
The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS is 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 with the finals next Sunday. In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event also includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.