COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2012)–The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is well underway in Prague, Czech Republic. The U.S. men’s beach volleyball teams of Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers are still competing for gold going into the fourth day of the Patria Direct Prague Open.
Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) were seeded No. 1 going into the main draw. In the first round match on Thursday, they defeated the Czech Republic team of Robert Kufa and Jan Hadrava 21-18, 21-18 in 38 minutes. The second round, Dalhausser and Rogers earned a 21-14, 21-10 victory in 32 minutes over Latvia’s Martin Plavins and Janis Smedins (No. 17). Friday they will face Czech Republic’s Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes (No. 9) to reach the semi-finals.
“That last match was our best so far this season.” Dalhausser said in an FIVB press release. “There have been matches where Todd would play his best or I would; but this time we played very well as a team. There was a good chemistry.”
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) were clicking on Thursday as well. The duo received the No. 7 seed going into Prague, and won their first-round match with a victory over Russia’s Yury Bogatov and Serguei Prokopiev (No. 26) 16-21, 21-14, 15-10 in 47 minutes. In the second round, Gibb and Rosenthal defeated the Czech Republic team of Jan Dumek and Martin Tichy (No. 10) 21-15, 21-16 in 39 minutes. Friday they will face Netherland’s Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil (No. 2).
“I love playing here.” Gibb told the FIVB. “We won gold here in 2008 and since I have only two career titles, this is very special to me.”
The U.S. team of Matthew Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) received the No. 3 seed at Prague, but suffered a first-round loss against the Netherland team of Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst (30) 16-21, 21-14, 10-15 in 48 minutes. Fuerbringer and Lucena next fell to Brazils’ Thiago Santo Barbosa and Rhooney de Oliveira Ferramenta (19) 20-22, 21-17, 20-22 in a three-set heartbreak lasting one hour. They finish Prague ranked 25th overall.
Going into Prague, Gibb and Rosenthal were in a close race with Fuerbringer and Lucena to claim the second men’s spot on the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. Both teams were tied with 4,920 FIVB ranking points toward qualifying for the roster spot. After this weekend, the balance will be slightly tipped towards Gibb and Rosenthal. After today’s victories, the worst they can finish is ranked ninth place.
“There is a lot of pressure for us.” Gibb said. “But we played well and then all you have to do is concentrate on your opponent.”
Complete information about the FIVB World Tour is available on the FIVB web site.