Dalhausser & Lucena top Tunisia in Rio opening match

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 7, 2016 - Seeking to become the first men’s Beach Volleyball player to win two Olympic gold medals, Phil Dalhausser began his quest here Sunday with Nick Lucena as the American pair posted a Pool C win over Choaib Belhaj and Mohamed Naceur of Tunisia.

Dalhausser, who is competing in his third Olympics after winning gold in Beijing (2008) and placing ninth in London (2012) with Todd Rogers, and Lucena used their experience to defeat the Tunisians 2-0 (21-7, 21-13) in 33 minutes.  While the Americans have been playing professionally since the early 2000s, Belhaj and Naceur have been playing internationally the past two seasons.

After losing the first set by 14 points, Belhaj and Naceur played much better in the second set.  The Tunisians were ahead six times in the second set before the Dalhausser and Lucena broke a 6-6 tie to take a 10-6 lead.  Belhaj and Naceur fought back to trail 13-11 when the Americans scored four-straight points to take control of the set at 17-11.

With an off day Monday, the two teams return to action Tuesday with Dalhausser and Lucena meeting Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico and the Tunisians playing Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy.  Ontiveros and Virgen, who have won their last two matches with Dalhausser and Lucena last month in Croatia and Switzerland, defeated the Italians 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 15-11) earlier Sunday in 48 minutes.


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