A great match: Rogers and Dalhausser
With a wife and two kids, Todd Rogers plays the role of patriarch. With a cleanly shaven head and a boyish grin, Phil Dalhausser plays the role of student. And on Sunday, they proved there isn’t a better pair in professional volleyball.
A blend of speed, size and all-around skill, Rogers and Dalhausser recorded a 20-22, 21-19, 15-9 victory over Dax Holdren and Sean Scott in the men’s championship of the AVP Lake Tahoe Best of the Beach tournament at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa. It was the team’s eighth domestic AVP victory of the season, the most on tour since 1997.
“I wasn’t very good out there today,” said the 32-year old Rogers, whose career earnings are almost $750,000 after splitting Sunday’s $30,000 first-place check with Dalhausser. “But Phil was solid. We didn’t play our best match by any means, but we played well enough to win. We had a couple of breaks that went our way.”
At 6-foot-9, Dalhausser, 26, is one of the tallest players on the AVP tour and has emerged into one of the sport’s most recognizable players, both on and off the court. His dominating play at the net proved too much for Scott and Holdren, who were solid in the first game but didn’t build any momentum in the final two games.
With the score tied at 13 in the second game, Dalhausser and Rogers reeled off four straight points to go up 17-13. One of the points came after a trademark block from Dalhausser. The duo never trailed in any game after that, including the third game when they opened a 6-2 lead and cruised to victory.
“I’m a little disappointed, but my hat’s off to them,” said Scott, who was Rogers’ partner from 2002-2005, a time period when they just missed qualifying for the 2004 Summer Olympics. “Phil was a monster at the net and Todd was all over the place on defense. We were trying to go after Todd and take Phil out of the game as much as possible. We had a lot of points and opportunities, but we couldn’t sideout well enough to give ourselves a chance.”
Rogers was named the tour’s best defensive player in 2004 and 2005. Before the 2006 season, he meshed his defensive skills with the Dalhausser, who was named the tour’s best offensive player last season.
So, for now, the future looks bright for the most successful men’s team in 2006.
“Unless Kevin Garnett comes along … I think it will,” Dalhausser said.
Walsh, May win again
Of the more than 1,600 fans in attendance on Sunday at MontBleu’s outdoor sports pavilion, there was no doubt who the majority of the people wanted to see: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.
The top-seeded team on tour didn’t disappoint as it defeated second-seeded Jennifer Boss and Rachel Wacholder 21-14, 21-15 in the women’s championship and claimed their seventh consecutive AVP title. Also with Sunday’s win, May-Treanor moved into second place all-time on the AVP’s career wins list (68), while Walsh is fourth overall with 65 career titles.
Since winning the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Walsh and May-Treanor are on a streak that doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon.
“That same team played very well in different tournaments, so you never know who is going to be on in a given tournament,” said May-Treanor, who had only faced Boss and Wacholder one other time this season with Walsh as her partner. “We might not look very energized right now, but this is our 20th tournament in a row. Still, it never gets old.”
Walsh, the wife of Incline High School graduate and current men’s AVP player Casey Jennings, used her 6-foot-3 frame to dominate Boss and Wacholder at the net. With May-Treanor supplying steady defense, the duo had little difficulty winning their record 13th title of the season.
Throughout the match, shouts of “Hey Misty” and “Go Kerri” filled the 3,000-seat stadium. After the match, dozens of fans lined up behind the court, pens in hand and waiting for autographs. Both players made sure nobody left disappointed.
“The sport is growing so fast and the fans are a big part of the reason,” said Walsh, a former NCAA All-American at Stanford University. “It’s nice to have the inaugural win here at MontBleu. I think there’s always things you can improve on. I know where Misty is going every single time and a lot of teams don’t have that.”
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