Lausanne, Switzerland, September 16, 2015 - With the withdrawal of the Italian team of Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri from the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals due to force majeure, the tandem will be replaced by compatriots Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai.
Carambula and Ranghieri, the 24th-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour, were selected last week as a "wild card" entry for the inaugural event to be held later this month in the United States due to their performance in SWATCH Major Series events in Croatia and Switzerland where the Italian pair had finished third and fourth, respectively.
The $500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals for men and women will be played September 29 through October 4 at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in south Florida were the gold medal pairs will share the $100,000 first-place prizes - the biggest winner’s check ever for an international Beach Volleyball event. The six days of competition will feature both pool play and elimination rounds leading to October 4s finales at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.
In naming Lupo and Nicolai to the 10-team, seven-country men’s field for the $500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals, the Italians are the No. 11-ranked pair on the 2015 FIVB World Tour after capturing the bronze medal at the last international event in Russia (September 13).
Lupo and Nicolai rank as Italy’s most successful team on the FIVB World Tour. The pair has the country’s most gold medals (two), podium placements (10) and “final four” finishes (12) since the start of FIVB-sanctioned events for men in 1987. Playing in 47 FIVB World Tour events, Lupo and Nicolai are also the top Italian team in the international career record book in terms of matches played (246), matches won (164, 66.7 winning percentage) and money earned ($539,600).
In becoming the first Italian men’s or women’s team to top a FIVB World Tour podium, Lupo and Nicolai posted back-to-back gold medal finishes at the start of the 2014 season in China at Fuzhou and Shanghai. Prior to the China successes, Lupo and Nicolai competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games where they defeated Beijing 2008 Summer Game champions Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of the United States in the first-round of elimination.
Against the other nine teams in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals, Lupo and Nicolai have a 17-14 match mark. In two United States appearances this season, Lupo and Nicolai have placed fifth in St. Petersburg and ninth in Long Beach. In 2013 at the Long Beach event, Lupo and Nicolai defeated Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson of the United States in the bronze medal match.
Lupo and Nicolai will compete in the same SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals pool as Gibb and Patterson, who are the top-seeded team in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event. Other teams in Pool A will be 2013 FIVB world champions Alexander Bouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg of Brazil and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain.
Men’s Pool B will feature 2015 FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands, Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria, Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada and Dalhausser/Lucena.
Prior to the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals, the international circuit will stage an “open” event September 22-27 in China where Lupo/Nicolai and Dalhausser/Lucena will be competing in the $150,000 event for both men and women.