COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Phil Dalhausser is the 2016 Male Beach Player of the Year.
For the sixth time in his career, Phil Dalhausser has been named the USA Volleyball Male Beach Player of the Year. The three-time Olympian finished fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games with partner Nick Lucena.
"It's an honor to be voted the Male Beach Player of the Year," Dalhausser said. "I'm getting older and every award means a little more. It means that you're still playing."
"In 2016, Phil Dalhausser won multiple medals on the FIVB World Tour, was voted Best Setter on Tour, finished ranked second in the FIVB World Tour ranking and was an Olympian," said USAV Beach National Programs Director Sean Scott. "Therefore, USAV is proud to name him the 2016 Male Beach Player of the Year."
Dalhausser, with Lucena, played in 12 FIVB tournaments during the year and won gold at four of those. Nine of the finishes during the season saw the pair reach the podium.
"Phil is one of the most trend-setting volleyball players to come along in beach or indoor," CEO Doug Beal said. "He established what is currently the way a beach team is structured to be successful at the top of the world. His dominance at the net but also his ability to handle the ball and the role he has carved out for the big man of the beach volleyball team, I think makes him a trendsetter."
The two athletes have dominated the Player of Year award most recently, Lucena won in 2015 and the year prior to that was Dalhausser.
"I didn't give Nick and me a good chance to qualify for the Olympics, I don't think many people did, not only did we qualify but we ended up being the third seed in the tournament," said Dalhausser. "We had a pretty darn good 2016, it was one of the more fun years of my career. Nick and I have been buddies for 15-plus years now, and our coach Paul (Baxter) who we've known for over 10 years, we traveled together and it was like the three amigos traveling all over the world playing volleyball. We complement each other well on the court and we were playing pretty good ball in the past year and a half."
In his career, Dalhausser has won FIVB gold 34 times and been to three Olympic Games. In 2016, he amassed a 67-14 FIVB record with Lucena which gave them a final ranking of second on the World Tour.
Phil is a "unique player in the history of beach volleyball," Beal continued. "His talents have been so well documented and recognized, when you are engaged in the beach world and you talk to the top players in the world, they speak with a combination of admiration, awe, respect about Phil. Every time he is on the court, regardless who his partner is, there is the belief on the other side that this is the team you have to beat if you're going to win the tournament. His history in the sport and the longevity that he's played at the top of the world with multiple partners makes him one of the greats of all time."
At this years' Olympics, Dalhausser and Lucena rolled through pool play unscathed, 3-0. A win against Austria in the Round of 16 set them up to what most were hoping to be the gold medal match but played out for the quarterfinals. The duo faced off against Brazil's Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt and lost their only match of the Games, 21-14, 12-21, 15-9, to tie them for fifth. Heading into the Olympics they led the men's World Tour in winning percentage (88.5%). For his efforts on the FIVB World Tour, he was named the 2016 Best Setter, his seventh time for the honor.
"He is the best partner you could ever want as far as his skill sets. He is a great point scorer, setter and stays pretty calm on the court. He's solid," said Nick Lucena. "He's going to play at a high level, even his 70-80 percent is at a high level, which is every defenders dream. He's the best blocker you could ever play with. I've played with great blockers, Matt Fuerbringer, Sean Scott, Theo Brunner. Matt and Sean were some of the best players on the World Tour but Phil is a great point scorer. On the World Tour, he is the best. Alison (Cerutti) is a freak, not only is he a great blocker but he gets every serve; he's a machine. I don't see anyone that's as good as Phil and there are great blockers on the World Tour, Evandro (Goncalves), Pedro (Solberg), there are tons. But Phil has been consistent for 12 years now and I'm fortunate to play with him. He deserves this award, hats off to him."
USA Volleyball Male Beach Player of the Year
2016: Phil Dalhausser
2015: Nick Lucena
2014: Phil Dalhausser
2013: Jake Gibb
2012: Jake Gibb
2011: Phil Dalhausser
2010: Phil Dalhausser
2009: Phil Dalhausser
2008: Phil Dalhausser
2007: Todd Rogers