Beach volleyball titles in Long Beach are an all-American affair

Beach volleyball titles in Long Beach are an all-American affair
U.S. players Phil Dalhausser, left, and Sean Rosenthal celebrate a point against Poland in the gold medal match of the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach on Sunday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Game, set, gold.

The United States swept the men's and women's titles Sunday at the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach.


Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal defended their 2013 title, outlasting Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland for a three-set win, and Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross defeated Brazil's Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas De Freitas for the women's gold at Alamitos Beach.

Americans Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner also made the podium as men's bronze medalists.

Dalhausser and Rosenthal dropped their first set, 24-22, but responded by winning the next two, 21-17 and 15-9, to earn their third title in their last four FIVB tournaments. Prudel and Fijalek defeated them in three sets at the previous FIVB Grand Slam final in The Hague, Netherlands, a week earlier.

"They came out and got us last week in a tight game," Rosenthal said. ". . . It's huge for us to get back."

Fijalek's spiking keyed an early run by the Poles, and Dalhausser and Rosenthal played from behind through most of the first set before evening the score at 18-18. They had a set point at 20-19, but Dalhausser served long, and the Polish pair held on for the win.

The Americans led most of the way in taking the second set. In the third, Dalhausser and Rosenthal went on a 4-0 run to establish a 9-5 lead and never looked back. Dalhausser sealed the match with a spike.

"It's great to win on U.S. soil," Dalhausser said. ". . . Here it's a home game for us. The crowd gets behind you, and it's a lot of fun."

Walsh Jennings and Ross seized the women's gold with a 21-17, 21-17 victory.

"That was a great team win for us," Ross said. "We split block again the entire time because Kerri was playing so well on 'D.' . . . That's part of how we play. We see what's working, and we're able to adjust."

Bednarczuk and De Freitas took an early 4-3 lead in the first set, but a Walsh Jennings kill swung the momentum and put the Americans up 9-7. From there, Walsh Jennings and Ross never gave up the lead.

In the second set, Ross put the Americans up 9-8 with a cross shot. From there Walsh Jennings and Ross charged ahead to a 17-12 lead, and Ross won the match with a hit over Bednarczuk's block.

After finishing ninth at two straight tournaments, Walsh Jennings and Ross returned to the podium.

"We reflected. We regrouped. We came together," Walsh Jennings said. "We looked in the mirror, and we changed things this week, and we had a lot of trust in our changes."

Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova of Slovakia won the women's bronze.


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