[podbean resource=”episode=ykk7z-7ffde5″ type=”audio-square” height=”400″ skin=”2″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”1″ rtl=”0″]

Just a few months ago, sitting at the kitchen table of Tri Bourne, Phil Dalhausser made a concession: It was no longer worth it to jump serve.

Not with the Mikasa, the ball used by the FIVB. It’s less forgiving than the AVP’s Wilson, which is softer, compresses easier, allows your hand to wrap around it and snap it down, giving it the topspin necessary to hit a consistently aggressive jump serve. And anyway, floating with the Mikasa, which flutters and dances and rises and drops, is oftentimes more precarious to passers than spinning it.

So Dalhausser was going to become, on the FIVB at least, a full-time float server. And for the first three matches of FIVB Fort Lauderdale, he was. At no point did he needed a spin serve in demolition derbies over Norway or Canada or Brazil. For the first set during Saturday’s quarterfinal against the Dutch and 30 points of the second, he didn’t need it, either. He and Nick Lucena won 22-20 and had staked themselves to a commanding 13-8 lead before the lead began to dwindle until it wasn’t a lead at all but a tie ball game, 15-15.

Alas, the jump serve was needed, and it proved to be the final winning ingredient, Dalhausser ripping one down Robert Meeuwsen’s line, producing an out of system pass and an over-aggressive set that resulted in a Dalhausser block.

With Meeuwsen now shading towards his line, Dalhausser ripped a spin down the seam. Ace.


Dalhausser and Lucena gave up a lead once. They wouldn’t do it twice, certainly not in a single set. They didn’t, as Dalhausser finished it with a lefty kill on two and a block to close it, shoring up a semifinal berth to meet crafty Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, who came back from down 4-1 in the third set to the Polish to win 15-10.

The opposite side of the bracket produced a pair of thrilling quarterfinals, one a marathon between Italy and Spain, 24-22, 19-21, 17-15 in favor of the reigning silver medalists, Nicolai and Lupo. The other was a 21-23, 21-11, 15-13 comeback win for Brazil over Americans John Hyden and Theo Brunner, who built a 13-11 lead only to give away four straight at the close.

The semifinals will be under the lights in the always-fun night matches.