Aug. 7, 2006
Klagenfurt, Austria - Former UCSB volleyball standout Todd Rogers and partner Phil Dalhausser defeated the reigning Olympic beach volleyball champions Sunday in Austria to win the gold medal at the prestigious FIVB A1 Grand Slam.
Rogers and Dalhausser needed just 45 minutes to take out Brazil's Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos by scores of 21-19 and 21-17 before a full-house crowd of 8,000. Rogers, playing in his 51st career FIVB World Tour tilt, was tabbed the most outstanding player of the event.
The win snapped a 50-event drought for the U.S. as it was the first International Beach Volleyball title for an American men's squad since 2003 when Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard were victorious in Greece.
After going 1-2 in pool play, Rogers and Dalhausser rebounded to win five straight matches en route to the title. Their run included wins over a pair of American teams (Blanton/Sean Rooney and Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal) as well as victories against the #3-seeded German team of Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann and 5th-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina.
"Once we got out of our pool, we played better and better with each match," said the 32-year old Rogers, who placed fourth in last year's A1 Grand Slam with Sean Scott. "Phil's play at the net has been awesome all year. He is a newcomer to FIVB play, so he has adapted quickly to the international game."
The win over the Brazilians came two months after Rego and Santos downed Rogers and Dalhausser twice in Croatia to take that stop's crown. Since the start of the international title in 1987, Brazil has won 122 of 188 gold medals, including 22 by Rego and Santos.
It was Rogers' second World Tour title as he won with Dax Holdren in Mexico in 2000. Dalhausser, who joined international play in 2004, finished seventh with Rogers at the 2005 Berlin stop, the duo's first event together.
The international victory gives Rogers and Dalhausser added confidence heading into this week's AVP Tour Manhattan Beach Open, considered the premiere beach volleyball event. The pair has won five of 10 AVP events thus far this season, the most recent against Gibb and Rosenthal at the Birmingham-Hoover Open in mid-July. They are currently ranked second on the Tour with 3,448 points, just behind leaders Mike Lambert and Stein Metzger (3,518). At the Manhattan, Dalhausser lost in the finals last year (with then-partner Nick Lucena), while Rogers placed third in both 2000 and 2001.
Rogers played indoor at UCSB from 1993-96 and ranks second on the school's all-time digs (783) and assists (4,831) lists.