“What goes up must come down” is how the saying goes, and often times, it’s right on the money. That is, unless you’re Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser (pictured above, in blue). Riding high on their meteoric rise over the past four years, the dynamic duo is no doubt poised for greatness, if not legendary status. Their supernatural synergy, combined with an unyielding respect for one another, has produced a rock-solid partnership blanketed by a laundry list of victories and titles.
While 6-ft, 9-in Dalhausser didn’t play volleyball until his senior year at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, he was undeniably a natural. His college years were highlighted by MVP and Most Outstanding Player awards.
Prior to that era, Rogers spent his high school years playing indoor volleyball and eventually nabbing a CIF Division I championship and a spot in the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame. U.C. Santa Barbara is where the stand-out worked his way to becoming an All-American in 1995-96.
It wasn’t until 2006 (after serving as assistant coach of Men’s Volleyball at U.C. Santa Barbara (2000-2005) and a mediocre stint in competition with then partner Sean Scott) that Rogers recognized the talent and potential of Dalhausser. Soon after, the pair formed a partnership.
Drawing upon his coaching skills and veteran experience, Rogers helped foster Dalhausser’s undeniable raw talent and the wins have kept coming ever since. Though they finished just a few points shy of the overall champions in the 2006 AVP season, they managed to dominate in eight AVP events, as well as one FIVB event. But it was 2007’s AVP season when the team truly began to hit their stride, overtaking the competition and separating themselves from the second place finishers with ten overall wins and a margin of more than 800 points.
Their first history-making moment occurred in 2008, becoming the first U.S. team to earn the FIVB World Championship in Gstaad, Switzerland. Throughout the rest of the year during Grand Slam events, Rogers and Dalhausser chalked up three international wins combined with eight domestic wins. As if that weren’t enough, a second historic feat occurred at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Fulfilling their dream, the pair captured the gold medal in Men’s Beach Volleyball, defeating the Brazilian team in three sets. Dalhausser was named MVP after performing nine definitive blocks during the crucial final match.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh also took home gold in Women’s Beach volleyball, earning the United States the honor of being the first and only country in the world to receive gold medals in both Men’s and Women’s Beach Volleyball during the same Olympic games.
Continuing their dominant ways in 2010, the pair has wins at the Hermosa Beach Open (AVP Tour), Long Beach Open (AVP Tour), and the recent Klagenfurt Grand Slam (FIVB Tour). The Klagenfurt win is the duo’s sixth in nine FIVB events this season, capping off a perfect 34-0 during the 2010 AVP NIVEA Tour. Even more impressive is the fact that this marks Rogers and Dalhausser’s 500th win (500-78 total) in what can only be described as a fairy-tale fusion of immeasurable talent and gritty teamwork.
With absolutely no signs of slowing down, the phenoms have recently defeated teams from both Poland and Switzerland, taking home the Swatch FIVB Championship for the 2010 season. The 6,060 points they earned cemented their lead and the two became the first U.S. men’s team to capture the FIVB season points title since the reign of Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos back in 1992-1993.
“What goes up must come down” you say? Not these two, not anytime soon.