Pro beach volleyball star Phil Dalhausser has still got it — even at age 35.
Nicknamed the “Thin Beast,” the 6-foot-9 Dalhausser went into beast mode, stuffing his Dutch opponents at the net repeatedly in a semifinal match at the 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.
Dalhausser, who attended Daytona Beach’s Mainland High with basketball star Vince Carter, teamed up with Fort Lauderdale native Nick Lucena on Saturday to beat Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, 21-18, 19-21, 15-12, advancing to Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. final, where the winners will get a check for $100,000.
“Phil is the best player in the world,” the 6-foot-1 Lucena said of Dalhausser, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 with Todd Rogers. “I’m lucky to be playing with him.”
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Dalhausser and Lucena will now play the Brazilian duo of Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti. Schmidt and Cerutti beat fellow Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves, 21-17, 23-21, to advance.
But the marquee matchup of the day was the only one involving Americans. Dalhausser and Lucena fell behind by six points, 18-12, in the second set and nearly rallied all the way back before losing. That tied the match.
In the third and deciding set, the Americans trailed again, this time 6-3, before storming back. Dalhausser, naturally, had the winning spike down the line on match point.
“This is our fifth World Tour [event] together, and this is our fourth finals,” Dalhausser said when asked about his relatively new partnership with Lucena, 36. “That’s not too shabby.”
Dalhausser and Lucena both said the filled-to-capacity crowd of about 4,000 provided a great environment for volleyball.
“It was probably the ‘funnest’ match I’ve played in, ever,” Dalhausser said.
Added Lucena: “This atmosphere was the most-electric I’ve played in the [U.S.]”
In the women’s semifinals, Germany prevented what was nearly an all-Brazil championship match.
Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca defeated Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley, 21-19, 21-12; and Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst beat Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, 21-15, 20-22, 15-13.
The women’s final will start at 1 p.m., with another $100,000 going to the winners.
Ludwig said Germany is emerging as a force in beach volleyball.
“I think we work harder — I think you know this about Germany,” Ludwig said. “We love more and more this sport. Beach volleyball is going crazy in Germany.
“We have an indoor beach volleyball facility, but we also go a lot to the sun. We go to America, Brazil. … We follow the sun.”