Oakley Makes Noise
Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won their second straight AVP Manhattan Beach Open, beating eighth-seeded Sean Scott and Dax Holdren 20-22, 21-16, 15-11 Sunday.
The third-seeded duo began the season by winning five of six tournaments. But they had won just once in six previous AVP stops before claiming their seventh title Sunday.
Their names were engraved on the Manhattan Beach pier as the first repeat champions since Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes from 1991-93.
Leading 21-20 in the first game, Scott stuffed Rogers at the net for the winner. The second game was tied at 14 when Dalhausser and Rogers scored seven of the final nine points.
The decisive set was tied at five when Dalhausser and Rogers scored 10 of the final 16 points. The winning point came off a set by Dalhausser that Rogers dinked into an empty spot on the court in front of 5,000 fans.
But the men have a lot to live up to. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh battled Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh in a women’s final Saturday that is sure to garner instant classic status.
Game 1 featured Youngs and Branagh playing near perfect volleyball. In Game 2, Youngs went down with leg cramps so bad she and Branagh forfeited the game. In Game 3, May-Treanor and Walsh overcame an inspired Branagh and a late three-point deficit before pulling out a 15-21, 14-7 (retired), 15-10 victory.
"I almost don’t feel like we won, but we’ll take it," Walsh said.
Youngs and Branagh used their devastating jump serves to dominate in Game 1, using a 5-0 run in the middle to take an 11-8 lead they would not relinquish, before the drama began.
Youngs felt a twinge in her already strained calf early in Game 2. She required a medical timeout with May-Treanor and Walsh leading, 9-5, but came back after receiving treatment that included salt tablets and pickle juice.
But she went down again when the score was 14-7 and decided to forfeit the game and take her chances in a Game 3.
"My legs completely cramped," Youngs said. "After I strained the calf, I had full quad lockdown. From my hips down. It completely took me out of my game."
Youngs and Branagh led as late as 12-11, but May-Treanor found the corners with two rainbow shots during a 4-0 run that ended the game and the match.
"Nicole stepped up to the challenge and played fantastically," Walsh said. "And Elaine is a trooper. She’s never going to give up. If she had one arm and one leg, she’d still make it tough to beat her."
And even though Youngs and Branagh lost, they agreed that Branagh’s breakthrough in Game 3 would be beneficial.
"This is going to be huge for us," Youngs said. "This is what she’s capable of. In the long run, this is going to be really good for our team, really good."