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Rogers, Dalhausser are dominant again

Olympic favorites win their seventh beach volleyball tournament of the season.

June 09, 2008|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser have spent much of this season demonstrating their dominance on the AVP Crocs Tour, but now it's time for the leading American candidates for men's Olympic gold to strut their stuff against the teams they will go up against in Beijing.

Rogers and Dalhausser swept through the Hermosa Beach Open without losing a match, ending the tournament with a 21-14, 25-23 victory over Casey Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer on Sunday in the final.

It was the seventh victory in eight AVP tournaments this season and the third consecutive victory at Hermosa Beach for Rogers and Dalhausser, who are headed to Europe this week for a string of three consecutive international events.

The trip carries some extra significance because it will be their last chance to size up the Olympic competition before heading to Beijing in August.

"It's good to play against that competition to see if anyone is doing something new," Rogers said. "And from there to be able to ideally beat all of them and kind of put a stamp on it and say 'OK, here we come. The Olympics are around the corner.' "

If they play as they did this week, they just might beat everyone else. They lost only one game in six matches and gave up more than 16 points in only three of their 13 games.

That was a far cry from last week, when they were third in Atlanta after losing two matches, the only official AVP matches they have lost this season.

"Last week was 90% mental," Rogers said. "Neither of us were really that fired up for it. We were just struggling, and it led to a lot of frustrations on both our parts."

Fuerbringer and Jennings were the frustrated players Sunday. After a mistake-filled first game, they took a 14-10 lead in Game 2 and had three game points but couldn't put away the tour's top team.

"We had our chances today," Fuerbringer said. "If we just keep learning and figuring a good strategy and staying patient, I think we can knock that team off."

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peter.yoon@latimes.com

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