It was a happy homecoming for the reigning kings of the beach, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser.
Coming off two weeks of playing in Europe on the international tour, the local beach volleyball stars returned to Southern California and made history on Sunday. They rolled past 13th-seeder John Mayer and Matt Prosser, 21-14, 21-11, to become the first team to win five straight AVP Hermosa Beach Opens.
“It’s pretty cool considering only one other team has won five in a row (at the same location),” Rogers said, referring to Mike O’Bright and Mike O’Hara’s five straight Manhattan Beach wins from 1960-64. “It’s pretty special.”
Rogers and Dalhausser lost only one game in five matches throughout the weekend in posting their 54th open win together. That moves them into third place on the all-time list ahead of current AVP Commissioner Mike Dodd and Tim Hovland.
Mayer and Prosser couldn’t match the level of play from Rogers and Dalhausser, who have won all five AVP events they’ve entered and five of their last six events world-wide.
“For whatever reason, both of us have consistently been able to raise our levels, especially in the finals,” Rogers said. “Our first matches we were kind of lethargic. We do play at a higher level in the finals.”
Rogers and Dalhausser followed their usual form in winning for the 10th time this year with the 6-9 Dalhausser taking over the match with his blocking.
“Phil was making good blocks,” Rogers said. “Johnny was hitting a lot of shots and challenging Phil. I think they were probably a little nervous. It’s a new team and we’ve played a long time together. The difference of that and us stepping up our game was indicative of the scores.”
Said Dalhausser: “John got it through me a couple times Eventually I’m going to adjust, and I figured it out. I could just see what John was doing. Everything was slow-mo, the moons aligned and everything worked out perfectly.
“We played pretty well,” he added. “This match was probably one of our easier matches this weekend.”
Mayer and Prosser were the lowest-seeded men’s team to make a final this season.
“I would definitely say I was happy to be there,” Mayer said. “It wasn’t in the plans as the 13th seed to be in the final, but at the same time, when you get there, I planned on winning. But they make it tough on you. I’m bummed now, but when I look back on it, I’ll realize it was a heck of a weekend.”
Mayer noticed how Rogers and Dalhausser raised their level in the final.
“I’ve played them probably 30 times in my career, and they were a notch better in the finals,” he said. “I’ve never seen them like that before. I’ve beaten them before and taken some games off them and had a lot of battles, but I had never played them in a final, and that was just another thing.”
Mayer and Prosser eliminated No. 2 Sean Scott and John Hyden and 10th-seeded Jeff Nygaard and Matt Olson in three-set matches earlier on Sunday to make the final.
Prosser was thrilled to be playing in his first final. But he learned quickly it takes an extraordinary performance to beat Rogers and Dalhausser,
“That was a pretty errorless effort by them,” Prosser said. “They made maybe one or two errors, and when they play that good, they’re extremely difficult to beat, no matter who you are.”
In the women’s final, Jen Kessy and April Ross defeated Rachel Scott and Elaine Youngs, 21-17, 21-14.