Beach Update: Beach finishes 2015 season at NORCECA Continental Finals

By Corinne Calabro | Nov. 16, 2015, 12:52 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Four teams will head to the 2015 NORCECA Continental Tour Finals in Trinidad and Tobago, starting Friday.

The U.S. is sending two men’s and women’s teams to the NORCECA finals, Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat and Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day.

U.S. BEACH NEWS | 2016 TOP 25 FINISHES | ABOUT OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION

The NORCECA final will count towards Olympic qualification points (worth Open points, 500 for first) as well as participation. During the Olympic qualification period, teams may use only one Continental Final as one of their 12 events needed for qualification.

The projected event format is scheduled to take place Friday-Sunday with 24 teams total per gender. Teams will play in eight pools of three teams. Following pool play, the top eight teams will earn a bye into the second round, the 16 remaining will play in the first round.

The NORCECA Continental Tour Finals will close out the 2015 schedule for the U.S. athletes. Play on the FIVB World Tour will resume with the Vitoria Open in Brazil Jan 26-31. The Tour then heads to a men’s only Open in Iran before going back to Brazil for two consecutive tournaments, the Maceio Open and then Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam. In total, the 2016 schedule will have four events in Brazil before the Olympic Games.

USA IN PROVISIONAL OLYMPIC RANKINGS
Following a silver at the Qatar Open, Dalhausser and Lucena are third in the world on the 2016 FIVB World Tour. In seventh are John Hyden/Tri Bourne. For overall provisional Olympic rankings, Gibb/Patterson still lead the American men’s teams with 4,320 points, despite not playing in the three 2016 Tour events on this year’s schedule. Hyden/Bourne have 4,060 points and Dalhausser/Lucena are third among the men with 3,100.

The U.S. women in 2016 FIVB World Tour points are led by seventh-ranked Lane Carico/Summer Ross who had a pair of ninth place finishes in Puerto Vallarta and Antalya. Kessy/Day are ranked 12th in the world after finishing third in Antalya and are the current American leaders in provisional Olympic rankings, at 17th. Only 20 points behind are Fendrick/Sweat (3,520). Another contender for one of the top two U.S. spots are Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross, who have 3,140 points in seven events.

The NORCECA Continental Finals this week will give Kessy/Day their 12th event, Fendrick/Sweat 11, Gibb/Patterson 11 and Dalhausser/Lucena 7. Athletes use their 12 best performances as a team for their Olympic Ranking, between Jan. 1, 2015 and June 12, 2016. Should teams not qualify in the rankings, they’ll need a minimum of 12 events to compete in the Continental Cup and if necessary, the FIVB Continental Cup Olympic Qualification.

WEEK IN REVIEW
FIVB Qatar Open
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena won silver, their fifth medal during the Olympic qualification time period, sixth as a team in the same time frame
John Hyden/Tri Bourne earned bronze, their second team medal and best finish in the Olympic qualification time period
Stafford Slick/Mark Burik tied for 25th, their second consecutive Top 25 finish

UPCOMING EVENTS | Add to your schedule | BEACH ON TV
Nov. 19-22 NORCECA Continental Tour Finals, Trinidad & Tobago
Jan. 26-31 Vitoria, Brazil
Feb. 14-19 Kish Island, Iran (Men only)
Feb. 23-28 Maceio, Brazil
March 8-13 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Related Links
FIVB 2016 FIVB World Tour update following FIVB Qatar Open
FIVB Fluggen and Bockermann end year on high with Qatar gold
FIVB Fluggen and Bockermann set up Qatar final with Lucena and Dalhausser
FIVB Top seeds wrap up pool play with three from three
FIVB Holler and Schroder aiming to repeat 2014 fairy tale
FIVB 2016 FIVB World Tour returns men’s FIVB Qatar Open
FIVB Continental Cup back underway as Rio dream draws closer