Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States outlasted Italy’s Paulo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo in three sets (21-13, 17-21, 24-22) during the pool play/preliminary round.
Dalhausser is quite familiar with the Italian duo, as they bounced him and then-partner Todd Rogers, the second-seeded pairing, out of contention in the London Olympics’ round of 16.
With the set two loss, the Americans dropped their first set over this Olympics. They were the last team in the field to have an unbeaten outing.
The third set rewrote the Olympic history books. In the 20-year history of beach volleyball’s appearance in the Olympics, the match set a third-set (typically goes to 15) record of being the longest third-set ever played during the event. The Americans needed eight match points to put away from the Italians. Italy had its chances too, as Nicolai and Lupo had two match point opportunities.
With the loss, Italy will not be eliminated, as this was during the preliminary rounds. The Americans, going undefeated in pool play, won their pool. The other teams to go undefeated in pool play were Russia (Krasilnikov and Semenov), Cuba (Díaz – González) and the Netherlands (Brouwer – Meeuwsen).