COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 27, 2013) – The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser won the first tournament of their partnership on Saturday at the FIVB Fuzhou Open in China.
Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.), the tournament’s No. 2 seeds, defeated Italy’s No. 4 Nicolai Paolo and Daniele Lupo, 21-18, 24-22 in 43 minutes in Saturday’s gold medal match.
“It was a great match; we match up similar,” Rosenthal said in an FIVB press release. “Nicolai is a great blocker; he’s great up there. And Daniele is a big defender; he’s a tall kid in the back. They’re young and they’re getting better and better and it’s a great win for us; I’m stoked. This first win and this whole season is dedicated to my grandma who passed away this year.”
In the morning, Rosenthal and Dalhausser defeated three-time Olympian Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and his new partner Álvaro Morais Filho from Brazil, seeded No. 14, in the semifinal, 19-21, 26-24, 20-18 (1:07).
“We found the match against the Brazilians very tough. The new lefty, the young guy sided out time after time even after taking a ball into his face, but we were lucky enough just to pull it off,” Dalhausser said.
In the women’s bracket, the U.S. team of April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Jennifer Kessy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) lost in the tournament’s third round and finished tied for fifth. The Olympic silver medalists defeated No. 6 Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic, 21-19, 23-21 (:42) in the second round on Saturday. But they fell to Germany’s No. 5 Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, 17-21, 21-19, 15-11 (:53) in the third round.
“I’m pretty proud of us,” Kessy said in an FIVB press release. “This is our first tournament of the year. Usually we have a couple of warm ups in the U.S. and we didn’t this year so I’m really happy with the way we played. I think the German team played really well. We needed a little bit more wind to beat them today. Our serves weren’t that great, so overall we're feeling ok.
“April and I have been playing together for seven years now and this is our last glory year together, so we’re really enjoying playing with each other.”
While Ross and Kessy are in their seventh year, Rosenthal and Dalhausser only began training together in January after successful careers with different partners. Dalhausser won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), and Rosenthal played in two Olympics with Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah).
“We’re feeling great. It’s our first tournament together and we did what we’ve been training to do and it felt great, it’s a good start,” Rosenthal said.
“I’m finding the new partnership pretty good, we’re one for one so I can’t complain and I don’t think Sean’s complaining either,” said Dalhausser, who may have had extra incentive to win the gold medal match. Italy’s Paolo and Lupo defeated Dalhausser and Rogers in the first round of single elimination play at the London Olympic Games.
The bronze medal went to Austrians Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl, who bet Ricardo and Álvaro Morais, 21-18, 21-18.
U.S. beach volleyball teams will be back in action next week on April 30-May 5 at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam.
To view a video interview with Rosenthal and Dalhausser, click here.
For more information on the Fuzhou Open, click here.
All of the men’s and women’s semifinal and final matches (to be played Saturday and Sunday) will be shown live on laola.tv.