When the final point was scored, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers calmly turned and high-fived each other, acting as if they had just tapped a par putt rather than won the Hermosa Beach Open. But they've won four in a row now, so maybe it's starting to become routine.
Top-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers beat second-seeded Sean Scott and John Hyden, 18-21, 21-15, 15-9, and became the first team to win four straight Hermosa Beach Open titles on Sunday.
"I didn't realize four in a row has never been done. It feels pretty good," Dalhausser said. "What feels even better is getting back on the winner's podium at the AVP; it's been a couple months."
This was Dalhausser and Rogers' fifth Assn. of Volleyball Professionals victory this season, but they haven't won since May 24 at the Huntington Beach Open.
This final was a rematch of three previous championship matches this season, two won by Scott and Hyden in Atlanta and Ocean City, Md., and one by Dalhausser and Rogers in Houston.
Dalhausser and Rogers have now won 18 consecutive matches, including overseas competition, where they won the last two tournaments they played. Rogers said they've played possibly as well as they ever have recently.
"It just felt like every facet of the game we were clicking on," he said.
This was Rogers' fifth win at Hermosa -- he won in 2001 with Dax Holdren.
Hyden and Scott gave them a challenge in the first game. Scott played well at the net, and they took a 12-9 lead and never gave it up.
"Against this team, because they know me so well, I don't feel I can side out as consistently as I can against some of the other teams," Rogers said.
In the second and third games, though, Rogers improved his defense, throwing himself every which way to scoop the ball from just above the sand and save the point.
"They tend not to challenge Phil too often, which is probably a smart move by them, so they challenge me to dig the ball, and today I was up to the task," Rogers said.
Dalhausser and Rogers also started serving to Hyden rather than Scott.
"Sean was siding out great and you know, the guy's siding out really well, even though his partner's a great side-out player you've got to give him a shot, see how he handles the pressure in the finals," Dalhausser said.
In the third game, Rogers continued his blanket-coverage defense. He said the deep Hermosa Beach sand helped him reach the ball because his opponents can't hit the toughest of shots.
"Those guys just can't get those angles that they normally can," Rogers said. "I feel like if Phil makes a big block and they shoot it around, I can get almost anything."
Rogers' diving saves, Dalhausser said, played a crucial role in the outcome.
"Some of those were pretty crazy rallies," he said. "Say the first rally drops their way, it's a totally different match."
Dalhausser and Rogers beat sixth-seeded Brad Keenan and Nick Lucena on Sunday morning to advance to the final, and Hyden and Scott beat third-seeded Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal.