What a difference a year makes.
In 2016, there may have been no tournament more uneventful and predictable than New York City. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won five straight matches in five straight sets. Not a single team managed to score more than a total of 31 points on the Olympians. Their longest match was 50 minutes, which came in the finals against Jeremy Casebeer and Sean Rosenthal.
In the deciding set, they scored 12 points.
Now, this is nothing less than a supreme compliment to Dalhausser and Lucena, who are so good at volleyball that watching them play on the AVP Tour is often tantamount to watching the Golden State Warriors play the Philadelphia 76ers: There may be exciting moments here and there, but the outcome is rarely, if ever, in doubt.
But, oh, what a difference a year, and an odd Brazilian-Canadian mishmash of a team, can make.
Ricardo Santos, the legendary Brazilian blocker who provided The Wall for iconic defender Emanuel Rego, joined Canadian Chaim Schalk in the Big Apple.