“They make me glad I’m retired,” said Canyon Ceman in his review of the AVP stop in Santa Barbara this weekend. Who was he talking about? Why Phil “Beijing Beast” Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of course.
During a weekend of three game marathon battles, the Beijing gold medalists made it look easy to be the best in the world. They never gave up more than 17 points in a game before taking home first place. Rogers contributed his usual vacuum-like defense to the effort, and even continued his solid setting in the finals despite a wrist injury that he sustained in a battle at the net during game 2.
Dalhausser posted an amazing 10 blocks and 12 kills in the final match against fellow 2008 Olympians Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal. Be afraid my friends. This guy is a phenomenon, and with Rogers behind him on defense the pair seems superhuman.
On the women’s side No. 1 seeded Misty May-Traenor and Nicole Branagh fell in the semifinals to No. 9 Dianne DeNecochea and Brittany Hochevar.
DeNecochea and Hochevar met the fifth seed, Annett Buckner Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan, in a surprise final. Davis and JJJ knocked out World Champions Jen Kessy and April Ross to advance to the finals, rounding out a weekend of upsets. This is only the second tournament for DeNecochea and Hochevar as a team, so a second place finish is pretty impressive. The last tournament win for David and JJJ was two years ago in Santa Barbara, so they may be looking to move out there permanently.
We’ve got a five week hiatus coming up for the AVP; next stop for these athletes is an FIVB tournament in Shanghai. Let’s see if Dalhausser’s block is as fearsome in Shanghai as it was in Beijing.