Reigning men’s Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won the AVP NIVEA Tour’s Progressive Insurance Santa Barbara Open Benefiting Komen for the Cure on Sunday, capturing the tournament title for the third straight time.
Top-seeded Rogers and Dalhausser beat fourth-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal 21-13, 21-14 in the Final. They didn’t lose a game in their six tournament matches. Rogers (a Santa Barbara native) and Dalhausser also won the Santa Barbara Open in 2008 and 2006, the last two times the AVP played in Santa Barbara.
“Todd and I have had one bad game this year, and that was in Brazil (last week),” Dalhausser said. “Then we kind of caught fire, and I don’t think we’ve lost a set since we lost that match.”
Dalhausser led the charge throughout the men’s Final, posting an eye-popping 10 blocks in the sweep. Dalhausser has a reputation for being the tour’s greatest force at the net, but his display in front of a packed house on Stadium Court took it to another level – reminiscent of his Game 3 clinic to win gold in Beijing and his dominant gold medal performance to bring the United States victory at last year’s AVP World Challenge.
“When we’re in the finals, I really want to win,” Dalhausser said. “I’ll do everything in my power to win.”
He added 12 kills with a .500 hitting percentage, due in part to solid setting from Rogers, despite an injury that forced him to use a different technique at the end of the match.
“I told Phil, ‘I can’t set with my hands,’” Rogers said of the reason for bump-setting after injuring his left wrist during a battle at the net in Game 2. Rogers finished the final with five digs.
The AVP NIVEA Tour returns to the beaches of Southern California from June 3-6 for the Huntington Beach Open.