Sunday, July 27, 2008

Todd and Phil lose in Long Beach


If the world’s number one ranked beach volleyball team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser were looking to solidify their momentum heading for the Beijing Olympics in less than two weeks, this probably wasn’t what they had in mind.

Rogers and Dalhausser, who are also far atop the leader board on the domestic AVP tour, not only lost for the first time after a men’s record 37 victories in a row, they were humiliated by Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb, America’s other Olympic duo.
Rosie, as he is known on the tour, and Gibb trounced Rogers and Dalhausser in straight games of 21-14, 21-14 in the finals of the AVP Long Beach Open on Saturday, handing the local duo — Santa Barbara native Rogers lives in Santa Ynez and former Santa Barbara resident Dalhausser has a condo in Ventura — their worst defeat of the year.
“We got our butts kicked,” Rogers told the Daily Sound. “We played crappy. We were very off. We were both really, really bad.”
Indeed, Dalhausser, normally a blocking machine known as “The Thin Beast,” notched only three stuffs in the match, far below his average, while Rogers, whose nickname is “The Professor,” wasn’t given any lessons either as he made an uncharacteristically high number of unforced errors.
“It’s the first time in a long time that both of us have been that bad at the same time,” said Rogers. “I guess you just say ‘It happens.’ And better in Long Beach than in Beijing.”
Rogers said the defeat was basically an anomaly, not a cause for alarm heading into the big stage in China starting Aug. 9.
“I’m not concerned at all,” he said. “Every year, we will have a couple of bad matches, obviously this was one of them for both of us. But it has no bearing on the Olympics.”
While others have suggested losing a match just before the Olympics might be a good omen – much like people say it’s good for a college basketball team to drop a game just prior to the NCAA tournament – Rogers dismissed the supposed pearls of wisdom as nonsense.
“It’s human nature to find a way to position it as a positive, and you can justify it any way you want. But the bottom line is we got our butts kicked. I would much rather have won.”
Justification no not, Rogers did have an explanation for the team’s lethargic play, however. And it does have something to do with the Olympics. It seems the duo was so inundated with media and other promotional stuff all day that neither ate lunch.
“I mentioned to Phil in the middle of the first game that I had no energy, and was just feeling so tired,” Rogers recalled. “He said, ‘Yeah, me too. I haven’t eaten all day.’ That’s when I realized that I hadn’t eaten either, just like a granola bar in the morning. That wasn’t enough fuel to get through the day.”
Rogers was also encouraged that it took a perfect confluence of him and his partner’s weakened condition and a errorless match from their opponents to finally go down to defeat.
“The reality was we didn’t give them the opportunity to make any mistakes. They didn’t have the chance to screw up. We did it for them.”
Rogers and Dalhausser haven’t decided whether to enter the San Diego Open next weekend as a final tune-up for Beijing.
“I would like to play, but Phil is nursing some random injuries,” Rogers said. “So it’s entirely up to him.”
And Rogers also said he was happy for Rosenthal and Gibb if the victory gives them confidence heading into the Olympics.
“I hope so, because they’ve been up and down and all over the map all year. I hope they get the confidence to do well in the Olympics and hopefully we’ll meet again in the finals.”

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