Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 11, 2017 - Brazilian teams will battle for the first gold medal to be awarded on the 2017 FIVB World Tour in the Fort Lauderdale Major.
That leaves two American teams to fight for the bronze medal after being vanquished in the semifinals.
Eighth-seeded Evandro Gonçalves and Andre Loyola advanced with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win over top-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, then ninth-seeded Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa ousted No. 24 John Hyden and Ryan Doherty, 2-0 (21-16, 21-9) on a steamy stadium court at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.
Both Brazilian teams are new for this season, so they are both seeking their first title together. They brought an advantage with them to this event, having played several events on the Brazilian domestic tour.
And Dalhausser and Lucena had less time to prepare for the semifinals after defeating Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in Friday night’s final match, then turning around to play in the first semifinal.
That didn’t take away anything from the Brazilians’ achievement, since they weren’t sure if Evandro would be able to play after suffering a shoulder injury.
“It’s really big for us because it’s our first tournament together,” Andre said. “We weren’t supposed to be here because Evandro had an injury two weeks ago in Brazil, so that’s why I cried so much when the game was over because it meant so much for us.
“We made it here, so there’s no reason we can’t do it.”
Alvaro and Saymon broke open a close match late in the first half when the 7-foot-1 Doherty began to tire rapidly. By the end, Hyden was trying to hit every ball that came his way over the net.
“I felt like I got hit by a truck,” Doherty said. “I couldn’t move.”
The Americans will meet each other for the bronze.
Alvaro and Saymon have been the dominant team on the Brazilian tour, reaching five of the six finals. They’ve won twice, captured three silver medals and one bronze. So they were tournament-tested when they arrived in South Florida.
“In our tournaments we have good games and hard games in Brazil,” Alvaro said. “We have so many good teams and this is one point that is an advantage for us.
“This is awesome for us. In the national season we played six tournaments and we made five finals and we are growing every day and here in the first tournament of the World Tour we are going to the finals.”
Interestingly, the two Brazilian teams have not met on their domestic tour but they did meet in Fort Lauderdale pool play with Alvaro and Saymon scoring a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) victory.
Dalhausser and Lucena held a 19-18 lead in the second set against Evandro/Andre but couldn’t close it out.
“It wasn’t anywhere near last night,” Lucena said of his energy level. “We were flat, but they played well, not taking anything away from them. They applied a lot of pressure with sideouts and they definitely had more energy than we did. We had a quick turnaround, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”