Phil Dalhausser, Sean Rosenthal and Todd Rogers have been here before, in the finals at the
Dalhausser and Rogers won the tournament together three straight years (2006-08). On Sunday, they were on opposite sides of the net as Dalhausser and Rosenthal defeated Rogers and Theo Brunner, 21-17, 21-13.
"I like playing Todd," Dalhausser said. "I like running my mouth a bit at the net."
Down 15-12 in the first set, Dalhausser and Rosenthal secured a side-out when Rogers mishit. They rode that momentum to victory in the first set, and Rogers and Brunner couldn't significantly shake their rhythm throughout the rest of the match.
"It was a real point opportunity," Dalhausser said. "If [Rogers] hits that in, it might be a different outcome."
Dalhausser, accustomed to crushing serves and spikes, played more of a finesse game to avoid aggravating his abdominal injury. He and Rosenthal skipped last weekend's AVP tournament in Salt Lake City to recover, but he said the injury still nags him.
The pair hung on through a three-set semifinal in the morning against John Hyden and Tri Bourne.
"We took last week off and this week came back and were battling through," Rosenthal said. "We weren't 100% and played a little different game with Phil float-serving and me jump-serving when normally it would be the other way around, but we did what we had to do."
Sunday provided a familiar scene in the women's final, as Kerri Walsh Jennings won her seventh Manhattan Beach Open, this time with April Ross. It was Walsh Jennings' second title in a row, after last year's with Whitney Pavlik.
Ross won the Manhattan Beach Open for the first time in her career. The tournament was first held in 1960 and is one of the most iconic on the AVP tour. Winners get a plaque embedded into the Manhattan Beach Pier.
"I never really let myself believe that it was actually going to happen because I wanted it so bad," Ross said. "I'm humbled by the fact that I'm up there with Kerri and that I'm going to be on the pier till the world ends."
Ross and Walsh Jennings beat Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat in the final for the fourth time in four AVP tournaments this season. The match was retired with Ross and Walsh Jennings leading 9-0 in the third set when Sweat experienced back spasms and could not continue.
"On my first jump serve in the second set [of the final Sunday], I started to feel numbness and tingling down my leg, and it just kept getting worse," Sweat said.
She said the spasms cropped up in Salt Lake City and she thought she could play through them. The injury puts in doubt her ability to compete later this week at the FIVB Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland. Fendrick and Sweat were scheduled to fly to Poland on Sunday night.
Before Sweat's injury, she and Fendrick got off to a strong start, taking the first set 21-19 on an ace serve by Sweat.
"It goes to show, if we are healthy, we can definitely compete with that team," Fendrick said.
Ross and Walsh Jennings responded by winning the second set 21-13 and recording nine straight points to open the halted third set.
"We had so many chances in transition that we didn't capitalize on, and that's what we're really working on because it crushes people's spirit when you capitalize on transition balls," Walsh Jennings said.
She added that she and Ross did the same thing against Emily Day and Summer Ross in their 22-24, 21-15, 15-8 semifinal victory Sunday morning.
Many AVP players are headed to the Grand Slam in Poland and then an AVP event in Cincinnati the following week. The AVP tour returns to Southern California on Sept. 18 for its final tournament of the season in Huntington Beach.