The Hague, the Netherlands, July 4, 2015 – Ranked 15th USA’s Nick Lucena and Theo Brunner are the lowest seeds in the final four of the 2015 FIVB World Champions in the Netherlands. On Saturday, Independence Day, they take on third seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt from Brazil.
It is the first time 35-year old Lucena reached a World Champs final four, his best result in three previous editions was 9th in 2011 (Rome) with Matt Fuerbringer, and for 30-year old Brunner this is his first World Championships.
“It does feel special and we’re trying to take it all in but we’re still trying to stay focused”, Lucena said on Friday. “We’re a little bit loose. We didn’t come here with any expectations. We’re going to take on that underdog approach and carry it.”
Brunner: “We are just trying to do the thing to prepare like we have for all those matches. We’ll watch some videos, come up with a game plan. Try and have a backup plan and be ready for it like every game.”
It will be the first meeting with the Brazilian team on the World Tour. Alison has one of the best World Championship track records, to say the least. He played in all three previous editions and reached the final four every time, winning silver in 2009 (Stavanger) with Harley Marques, gold in 2011 with Emanuel Rego, before finishing 4th in 2013 in Poland, again with Rego.
Bruno also played in the last three editions, with 5th place with Pedro Solberg in 2013 being his best result. The Brazilians don’t underestimate the US team though. “These guys have been playing like on fire the whole week”, Bruno said.
The 28-year old Brazilian defence player looks forward to showing his best in the Hofvijver stadium in The Hague, after a week in Apeldoorn. Bruno: “We watched a lot of the matches in The Hague on tv. We would say to each other: wouldn’t it be great to play in the semifinals in this city. And here were are. We are so stoked to be part of this event, this show.”
Brunner and Lucena came from Amsterdam. “It was great”, Brunner said. “The atmosphere was amazing. Fans were great, the competition was really good and the fact that we came out on top was something special.”
But now the Americans are looking forward to playing in the capital of the 2015 World Championships. “We saw some of the highlights online. The stadium looks awesome and we’re super excited to get out there and play.”