Lausanne, Switzerland, December 20, 2015 - Winning six titles and finishing on a high by claiming the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Brazil's Bruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti were the dominant force of the season, earning a record-$100,000 in prize money and setting themselves up nicely for the coming Olympic year.
Their win over USA's Phil Dalhauser and Nick Lucena 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) in the final at Fort Lauderdale was confirmation of their exceptional form.
Said Lucena, after the final, of his opponents:
“They played well, man... Hat’s off to them.”
It had all started several months earlier, before Brazilian teams entered play, with the Fuzhou Open in China, where Germany's Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen bagged the first gold of the season in defeating Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-19, 21-19).
The Dutch pair did go on to win a gold for themselves at the Major Series in Porec, Croatia, defeating Canada's Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) in scorching 40-degree temperatures.
But then Brazil and USA joined the party and everyone had to make way for the big guns, as Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg beat 25th-seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak from Poland 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) in the final of the Stavanger Major. USA's Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson followed with a 2-1 (16-21, 23-21, 15-13) comeback win over the Netherlands' Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorstin the final of the St. Petersburg, Florida Grand Slam.
It was Brazil all the way after that, with Alison and Bruno taking the World Tour by storm, first winning the FIVB World Championship in the Netherlands and then collecting yet more gold medals in the Gstaad Majors, the Yokohama Grand Slam, the Long Beach Grand Slam and the Olsztyn Grand Slam.
Latvia's Aleksandr Samoilovs and Janis Smedins did get their own moment in the sunshine beating the Brazilians at their own game on their home turf by winning the Rio de Janeiro Open and collecting another gold at the Sochi Open. The Latvian pair defeated Germany's Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen 2-0 (21-15, 25-23), after the Germans had eliminated Alison / Bruno 2-1 (21-16, 13-21, 15-10) in the semifinals.
Dalhauser/Lucena picked up one last gold at the Xiamen Open, beating Bockermann/Fluggen 2-0 (21-16, 21-17), before Alison and Bruno stormed back at the Fort Lauderdale Finals to end the season in style.