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American Nick Lucena hits against Italian Paolo Nicolai in the Fort Lauderdale Major gold medal match

ION Fort Lauderdale, FL., USA – For three years, Floridians Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena have chased an FIVB World Tour title on the beach where they started their careers together.

On Sunday, as Dalhausser said, “Third time’s a charm.”

Dalhausser and Lucena completed a week in which they did not drop a set with a 21-12, 21-17 win over Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai to capture the Fort Lauderdale Major.

“It’s the one tournament I’ve wanted to win,” Lucena said. “It’s my hometown where I started playing. This is everything I’d hoped. We finally won. Phil played great all weekend and I played steady enough to keep us in there. There’s a lot of great teams on this Tour and to win is hard. I’m grateful.”

Faced with an early 4-2 deficit in the first set, the Americans rolled off seven consecutive points to take control on the way to their ninth World Tour victory together. For Dalhausser, it was his 38th career victory internationally.

More than 5,000 fans were in attendance Sunday for the men’s medal matches on the center court at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park with more than 1,000 waiting outside the stadium to gain entrance

“I feel pretty darn good to say the least,” Dalhausser said. “Nick and I played great all weekend and we were just super steady. The Italians were tough, they were able to do a little better in the second there. It was close to the end and we ended up winning. Great feeling.”

Nicolai and Lupo, the European champions and Rio 2016 silver medalists, were looking for their sixth World Tour title together but ultimately were denied by the presence at the net of Dalhausser, who had six blocks and changed many shots.

“We are so proud to play in the finals of this kind of tournament,” Nicolai said. “All week we played great matches but today they deserved to win, they played much better than us. They played amazing all week and they played amazing today. The big difference was the service from the two teams. In the second set we tried to receive some good balls, but they played better than us. They did everything better than us.”