COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 23, 2013) – The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal won gold while April Ross and Jennifer Kessy took silver at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rome Grand Slam in Italy.
Both teams will play next at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on July 1-7 in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 3, defeated Latvia’s No. 6 Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, 21-19, 21-18 in 44 minutes in the men’s final.
“I was struggling to side-out this whole week, but Phil picked me up and kept me in the game,” Rosenthal said in an FIVB press release. “That’s a great team; they’ve been in two straight finals. We got a good start and we carried that on in the second set.”
The gold medal was the first for Dalhausser and Rosenthal, who are in their first season as a team. Rosenthal won the gold medal in Rome in 2012 with Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah).
“For us as a team it is important,” Rosenthal said. “We came off a 17th last week, to come back to a place where we’ve both had success and to come through. I don’t think we’ve played our best, I don’t think we’ve even been close, but we’ve kept winning games and we’ve stayed close together.
“It’s big before the World Champs. We’re the first team to have two wins and whatever team won this one was going to be the first to two wins and we want to keep building momentum and keep on winning.”
To reach the final, Dalhausser and Rogers beat Brazil’s No. 2 Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in the semifinals, 22-20, 18-21, 15-10 in 56 minutes.
Ross and Kessy went three sets in their final loss to Brazil’s No. 5 Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Taiana Lima, 21-17, 19-21, 15-12 in 52 minutes. The silver is their third set of medals from the Rome Grand Slam. They won gold in 2010 and bronze in 2012. They are also looking at peaking for the World Championships.
“April and I for years have known when to peak and we are on an upswing,” Kessy said. “For the whole year we’ve been getting better and better and better.
“We are sad we didn’t win that game. I have about four side-outs from the third set in my mind that I could have done a lot better, but I am really happy with how we stuck together. Not many teams can come back like that.”
Dalhausser and Rosenthal won $33,000 for the victory and Ross and Kessy took in $22,000 for finishing second.
For more information about the FIVB Rome Grand Slam, click here.