With winners’ checks from South America and North America in their pockets, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers will take their sandblasting act to Asia and Europe.
“Now it’s off to China,” Rogers said after the reigning Olympic beach volleyball champions thoroughly dominated all comers in their hometown tournament, the AVP Nivea Santa Barbara Open. They crushed Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal by scores of 21-13 and 21-14 in the men’s final Sunday to claim the $20,000 first prize.
Dalhausser and Rogers swept all six of their matches at West Beach, after closing out the FIVB Brasilia Open a week earlier with five sweeps – that’s 22 games in a row the pair has won against their rivals at home and abroad.
Next up for them are three more FIVB events – the Shanghai Open this week, followed by the Foro Italico Grand Slam in Rome (May 18-23) and the Myslowice Open in Poland (May 25-30). The next AVP tournament will be at Huntington Beach, June 3-6.
The 6’9” Dalhausser was a terror at the net Sunday afternoon. He scored on 10 blocked shots and had 12 kills, pounding the ball over the 6’7” Gibb. Rogers, who had 10 kills, including a pair that caromed off Gibb’s forehead, sprained the outside fingers on his left hand during the second game, but it was hardly noticeable to the stadium crowd. Instead of setting the ball off his extended fingers, he reverted to under-handed bump sets.
Dalhausser and Rogers have won three straight Santa Barbara Open titles and 47 championships overall since they paired up in 2006.
There also were repeat champions on the women’s side. Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan polished off Dianne DeNecochea/Brittany Hochevar in the late afternoon final, 24-22 and 21-16.
Davis and Johnson Jordan earned their $20,000 the hard way. They had to come out of the contenders’ bracket after losing a tough three-set match to Nicole Branagh/Misty May Treanor on Saturday. They fought their way back into the semifinals, where they worked overtime to defeat Rachel Scott/Elaine Youngs, 17-21, 25-23 and 19-17. They dug themselves out of a hole in the third game after Scott/Youngs jumped out to a 6-1 lead.
“We love Santa Barbara,” said Johnson Jordan, whose parents – Betsy and Rafer Johnson, the Olympic star – followed her throughout the tournament. The last time she and Davis won a title was at West Beach in September of 2008. The pair has played in a record 101 tournaments together since 1997, including the 2000 Olympic Games. They will not be going overseas this year. Both are the mothers of two children.
Branagh/May Treanor, who won the first AVP event of the year at Fort Lauderdale, were upset in the semifinals by DeNecochea/Hochevar, 22-20, 15-21 and 15-13.
The fifth annual CBS College Beach Volleyball Championships were held in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Open. Emily Day and Heather Hughes of Loyola Marymount defeated Stephanie Barry/Colleen Walsh of Delaware in Sunday’s final, 21-16 and 21-19. UCSB’s Becca Saraceno/Lauren McLaughlin lost their bid to reach the semifinals in a one-game playoff with Noelle Bay/Trisha Belcher of Florida’s Webber International University, 21-18.