U.S. beach volleyball team has history in sands of MB

lucenadalhausserThirteen years before they were the toast of Copacabana Beach, U.S. Olympic men’s volleyball partners Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena were digging deep in the sands of Myrtle Beach.

Poised to reclaim the gold medal won by Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in 2008, the new 2016 team is actually a reunion of a pair of longtime friends and Floridians who became teammates and trained in Myrtle Beach back in 2003-04. They play host Brazil in the quarterfinal round on Monday.

The duo knew one another through volleyball circles in Florida and they were invited to move to the Grand Strand to train with local pro volleyball players Adam Roberts, Matt Heath and others who lived in a beach house with a sand volleyball court in the back yard.

After Lucena graduated from Florida State in the spring of 2003, he and Dalhousser relocated to Myrtle Beach and spent most of their time playing volleyball and surfing to stay in shape. They worked as substitute teachers, spending some days in the classroom and days off on the sand and waves.

“We never really hung out socially, I guess, until we moved up to South Carolina together,” Dulhausser told the Los Angeles Times. “We spent every single minute together because we lived together, practiced together.”

The training sessions proved pivotal in their decisions to pursue pro beach volleyball as careers. They qualified for an event in California and moved to the more competitive West Coast in 2004 to chase their dreams.

But the Olympics weren’t in the picture at the time. Dalhausser paired up with Rogers to win it all in 2012 before returning to his old partner Lucena. Now the duo is poised to bring home some Olympic gold, and at least a small piece of the medal belongs to Myrtle Beach.

Photo courtesy of Team USA

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