Phil Dalhausser is fifth U.S. man to win 100 beach volleyball titles

Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena
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Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena remain perfect since beach volleyball’s return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 40-year-olds won their second AVP Champions Cup tournament in as many weeks, giving the 2008 Olympic champion Dalhausser his 100th career tournament title.

They beat fellow Tokyo Olympic hopefuls Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb in a second straight Sunday final, this time 21-9, 21-15 in Long Beach, Calif.

“I’m just grateful that I can make a living playing the sport, and to have 100 pro wins, that’s pretty darn cool,” Dalhausser said on Amazon Prime.

Earlier, April Ross and Alix Klineman won a second straight women’s title, beating Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-15, 21-19 in a battle of the world’s top two teams. NBCSN airs coverage of the finals on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

Dalhausser became the seventh U.S.  player, and fifth man, to reach 100 titles, according to Bvbinfo.com. The leaderboard:

1. Karch Kiraly (148)
2. Sinjin Smith (139)
3. Kerri Walsh Jennings (135)
4. Randy Stoklos (122)
5. Misty May-Treanor (112)
6. Kent Steffes (110)
7. Phil Dalhausser (100)

Dalhausser owns 59 AVP titles. Most came with 2008 Olympic champion partner Todd Rogers before they broke up after the 2012 London Games. The last two with Lucena came on consecutive weekends on the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center parking lot without fans and with many health and safety measures.

“It’s been about the same, two little angry guys I’m dealing with,” the 6-foot-9 Dalhausser joked of Lucena, his first partner with whom he reunited, and Rogers. Dalhausser said last year that he plans to retire from international play after the Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed to 2021.

The three-week AVP Champions Cup marks the first three top-level beach volleyball tournaments since March.

Dalhausser and Lucena, Gibb and Crabb and Tri Bourne and Crabb’s older brother, Trevor, will battle next year for two U.S. Olympic men’s spots.

Dalhausser and Lucena rank third more than halfway through qualifying, but they still have one more tournament to count, while the other teams can only count a result in place of a worse previous result.

Dalhausser and Lucena would both break the record of oldest Olympic beach volleyball player in history, according to Olympedia.org. As would the 44-year-old Gibb. And Walsh Jennings, 41.

AVP results do not count toward Olympic qualifying. The schedule has not been set for the resumption of top-level international tournaments that count in Olympic qualifying.

MORE: The team that plans to end Kerri Walsh Jennings’ Olympic career

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Correction: An earlier version of this post didn’t specify that the career wins list didn’t include international players.