Todd-Phil win All-American final in Austria

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser finally got to play Nick Lucena and Matt Fuerbringer in the final of a beach volleyball tournament.

Rained out in their only other title-match showdown on the domestic AVP Tour back in April in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the American teams met up in Klagenfurt, Austria in the final of the $600,000 Swatch-FIVB World Tour’s A1 Grand Slam.

Rogers-Dalhausser pulled out a tough 21-18, 21-19 victory for their fourth tournament title in a row, sixth FIVB crown and 12th championship overall  this season. The No. 1-ranked team in the world split a first-prize of $43,500.

The match marked only the 10th time in the 24-year history of the FIVB World Tour that two American teams played in the gold-medal match. Ironically, the last time it happened both finalists had Santa Barbara connections. Rogers and Dax Holdren defeated former City College and UCSB athlete Rob Heidger and Kevin Wong in Rosarito Beach, Mexico in June of 2000.

Lucena has a local tie. He came west with Dalhausser from Florida back in 2004 and the two lived in Santa Barbara when they were partners on the AVP Tour.

When the final was canceled in Florida, the AVP decided the teams would share the title. Lucena-Fuerbringer won the AVP tournament in Virginia Beach, Va., an event Rogers and Dalhausser did not enter.

In Austria, Lucena-Fuerbringer were playing in their first FIVB gold-medal match. The silver was Lucena’s first medal on the international tour and he earned his biggest pay day with a shared $29,500.

For Rogers-Dalhausser, this was their third title in Klagenfurt and 14th career international championship as a team.

Making the title sweeter for the 2008 Olympic champions was defeating Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego for the fifth time this year in the semifinals, 21-16, 21-19.

Fuerbringer-Lucena knocked off Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Ricardo Santos, 21-19 18-21, 17-15, in the other semifinal.

The tournament also saw Rogers-Dalhausser reach a team milestone. Their second-round win on Saturday over Reinder Nummerdo and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands was the 500th as a team. Their career record is now 503-78 — 318-35 (.901) on the AVP Tour and 185-43 (.811) on the FIVB Tour.

Rogers-Dalhausser will go after their fourth FIVB Grand Slam title this week in Stare Jablonski, Poland.

In other news, Rogers was elected as one of two player representatives for FIVB beach volleyball for the next two years. He replaces Sascha Heyer of Switzerland.

Rogers and Austria’s Sara Montatgnolli will serve as liaisons between the players and the FIVB. They are expected to attend the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission meeting on Oct. 13-14, 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland.