2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Monday, August 27, 2007

BACK in New York

It was a bit painful but Phil and I were still able to win the AVP Brooklyn Open. Really stoked on our win actually as we had to go through a bit of adversity to do so.

Last Monday I jacked my lower back up moving a ball bag full of balls. I did no major physical activity all week. No practice, lifting or plyo work to speak of. Just ice and light stretching. Back felt okay on Saturday in our first two games.

We beat a qualifier team fairly easily in our first match and then played AL-B and Fonoi in our second match. The first game we crushed them but the second game was a battle. We ended up winning that one like 28-26 or something like that. Back felt a little ginger but I was still able to go full out in both of those games.

In our third game we played Hans and Ty. I probably had about 3 digs in the game. I was not moving well at all. You couldn't really tell though as Phil and I were both blasting our jump serves and creating a lot of easy opportunities to score. Phil blocked really well and they made several errors. I was struggling to run anything down though. We won in 2 games.

The next day we played Hyden and Keenan in the morning. I was stiff and I struggled. I don't know that we would have won anyways as I discussed it with Phil and we both thought they played really well. They served incredibly tough. They probably had close to 10 aces in the game and 5 of them we were not going to touch regardless of health. They beat us down pretty good with scores of around 14 and 15.

After that game I went and Steve Paulseth, a PT, worked on me until my next game. Felt a lot better and we were able to take down Matt and Casey in 2 games. Sided out well and felt like I could move pretty well around the court. I went right back to Paulseth when the game was done and he did some more work. We played Stein and Mike in the crossover semis as they had gone through the winners bracket undefeated. I felt better that game then the one before and we won the first game pretty handily. The second was a full on battle. It was tied at 18 all and we proceeded to score 3 points in a row to win it in 2 games.

I went back to Paulseth and he worked his magic again. Going into the finals I felt pretty good. I could pass, set, and jump to hit without any problem. The hard part was having to land after jumping and fully extending myself on a layout dive. There were a few defensive moves in the finals that I like to think that I could have made but pulled up because I did not want to jack the back up badly. We ended up playing Scott Wong and Aaron Wachtfogel in the finals who upended a lot of teams on there way there. We went out to a 6-1 lead and it looked like we would bury them but they came back strong and tied it up around 12 all. From there on the entire match was a battle. They were game and playing well. Aaron had some great digs and Scotty was blocking, serving and siding out very well. It came down to making the plays at the end of the game and not making errors and we were fortunate in that we did not make errors and we did make the plays to win. I give kudos to both of those guys as I thought they played really well. Not just to get there but in the finals they were straight up good.

The two things out of this tourney that I was most stoked on was being able to battle through a stiff back and more so, the way Phil picked his game up. I told him after we lost to John and Brad that I needed him to help me out by looking to hit on 2 in transition and help me out in serve receive as well. He always does this but I was basically asking him to do it more. He put all but one ball away in siding out for me and put a bunch of balls away in transition too. It was good to fight through a little adversity and I have to say I am very satisfied with our win in Brooklyn.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Las Vegas & San Francisco

Something that I have not seen on the AVP website is where teams rank to go to San Francisco and players rank to go to Las Vegas. I wish they would put it out there as I find it very intriguing. Therefore, I will put it out there myself.

Minor Disclosure: These points could be wrong but I am pretty sure I am really close. :)


San Fran. is for the top 8 teams on the year based on a teams best 6 finishes. Right now there is a major battle for the last 3 spots. 5 teams are pretty much in. They are:

Phil/Todd 2640
Stein/Mike 2380
Jake/Sean 2226
John/Brad 1874
Fred/Medel 1838

The other teams battling for the last 3 spots are:

KK/Wong 1422 and dropping 180 points
Dax/Sean 1196 and only adding points
Aaron/Scott 1188 and dropping 108 points
Mark/Nick 1170 and only adding points
Hans/Ty 1170 and dropping 108 points
Matt/Casey 1144 and only adding points

There are 3 old teams that are ahead of these guys but are not playing as of right now. They are:

Casey/Mark 1368
Olsen/Ring 1368
Sean/Furbs 1296

I suspect that several teams will pass these teams this coming week and it will be a moot point with perhaps the exception of Olsen/Ring getting back together for Cinci.


For Las Vegas you have 6 guys who have essentially locked up one of the 12 spots. Only 12 players get into Vegas and the top four get bye's into the second round. This tourney is also based on a players best 6 finishes irrespective of who they played with. The rankings are:

1. Phil 1320 dropping 180
2. Todd 1320 dropping 180
3. Stein 1190 dropping 180
4. Mike 1190 dropping 180
5. Jake 1113 dropping 162
6. Rosy 1113 dropping 162
7. Hyden 937 dropping 108
8. Keenan 937 dropping 108
9. Fred 919 dropping 108
10. Anthony 919 dropping 108
11. Dax 899 dropping 104
12. Mark 885 dropping 108
13. Sean 872 dropping 104
14. Casey 850 dropping 108
15. Matt 846 dropping 104
16. Nick 795 dropping 90

There are others who could jump in but need 2 good finishes to do so.

As you can see, there is 143 points separating #7 from #16. One tourney could make the difference.

These tourneys really make a 9th place matchup very interesting. Guys and teams are scrambling for points. There is good money to be had in the season ending tourneys, not to mention they are a lot of fun too. Everyone wants to be there but only a few can go. If you are coming to NY or Cinc. look for some of these matchups and you will surely see a fiery game.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Great Tourney in Boston

Another good weekend for Phil and I. Started out with a direct flight from LAX to Boston in first class. I did have a hopper from Santa Maria to LAX but its a short flight and almost doesn't count. Flew in comfort the whole way and got into Boston on time at 5pm. Phil and I grabbed a cab with Jeff Alzina, the coach for Mike/Stein and JJJ/Annette, and went to the Hilton. Saw a PF Changs right next to the hotel and the 3 of us had a great dinner there. Have not eaten there in about a year and I love that place. Especially the chicken lettuce wraps.

The next day we started the tourney. 24 team MD so we got a bye in the first round as the 2nd seeded team. Played Loiola/Jewell for our first match. They had beaten Rester/Lee in their first round match. Both guys are coming off of surgery from last year. Loiola had hip replacement surgery and he is starting to show glimpses of his old self. In the beginning of the year you could tell he had surgery. Now he is jumping well and looking more like the Loiola of old. Jewell had knee and shoulder surgery. I think the knee was major and the shoulder was minor. He can still hammer the ball so I think the shoulder is fine. The knee looks good as he is jumping well. He does wear a knee brace probably just in case. We beat them in two games and played well doing so. Scores were in the mid teens or so.

In our quarterfinal game we had a rematch of the MB finals with Dax and Sean. Good match. We smoked them in the first and then they smoked us in the second. The third was tight until a controversial call. I scooped Sean on a short line shot, jumped up and banged a ball off his right fingers that landed out of bounds. Phil and I celebrated and Sean was yelling no touch. They called a touch and a point for us. I think the score was 9-6 instead of 8-7 with us up. Sean went ballistic on the refs. For my part, I swear he touched the ball with his right pinky, ring finger and middle finger. Things happen slowly when you are mid play and I distinctly saw that touch. Phil saw it also. It was a turning point and we won 15-9. I asked others if they saw it and got different answers. Two guys said it was a touch. Another guy said no touch. I stand by my assertion that he touched it. Only Sean truly knows and I had no desire to ask him after that game. Maybe next week. Maybe not...

When we woke up Saturday morning it was howling windy outside. We played an old foe, Rosy/Gibb, on an outside court. It was standard wind ball. We won the first game about 21-18 and there was probably 5 true pass, set, putaway sideouts. The second game we lost 22-20. In the third we pulled ahead and stayed ahead to win. Lots of great rallies because of the wind. It was very difficult to put the ball away.

In the semis we played Fred/Anthony again. This team is becoming a permanent fixture in the late rounds of tourneys. I expect they will be the 4th seed next week in N.Y. We beat them in 3 games in another wind ball match. We lost the first 21-18. Won the second 21-7. The third we were down 7-9 and then won 15-9. Side out and then 7 straight points on errors, blocks and digs. On to the finals.

In the finals we played Matt/Casey. They had lost to Stein/Mike in the quarters of the winners and fought through to get to the finals. On the way there they beat Jake/Rosy to give them a 5th and got revenge on Stein/Mike to give them a 3rd. Casey was really fired up to be back in the finals. He is a really great guy and I love playing against him as he is such a fiery competitor. Phil and I were up to the task and played well though. Phil blocked great in the 1st and then served them off of the court in the second. I played my usual game trying to clap a lot as Phil got blocks and aces. :)

It was a good tourney for us and a great new stop for the AVP. We have had several new stops this year and Boston has to be number one, at least in my book. I congratulate the Fenway Group and Mike D. on a great tourney., I look forward to coming back next year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Boston & MB Connection

Boston coming up. First time in pretty much everyone's memory that we have gone to beantown. No idea what to expect going in. I have heard that the AVP has paired up with the Red Sox on this one and that there has been a lot of advertising about the event. Hopefully that will help and it will be packed. By the way, it is actually in Quincy which is a suburb of Boston as many have noted. Have not spent much time in Boston and I have never played there. Played in Cape Cod way back in 1997 and flew into Boston. Visited as a kid too. Should be fun.

I have to give some props on Manhattan Beach to my high school coach, Jon Lee. There was a very distinctive San Marcos High School Royals flavor in the semis and finals. Dax is a 1990 graduate, I am a 1991 graduate, and Anthony Medel is a 1996 graduate I believe. Jon Lee was the coach to all of us and was our first major influence to go down to East Beach and play some beach volleyball. He always encouraged his players to get down to the beach and play on the sand because he felt we would get better there than in a moldy old gym. For me, that might have been the best advice I ever got from him. I would harbor a guess that Dax and Anthony might say the same. Thanks Jon and good luck in your upcoming season.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Always did love my Granddaddy!!

What a weekend. Ups and downs all over the place but certainly ended on a high note for Phil and I. Not going to lie to you, both Phil and I are physically and mentally pretty drained. Overload with travel, volleyball, and everything in between. That made it all the sweeter though to be able to focus in on the task at hand and get it done.

Phil and I were the third seeded team behind Stein and Lambo (1) and Jake and Rosy (2). Our first round was against Sabla/Rupp. Played Sabla last year and I know of Rupp from his days at UCI. They played solid volleyball and we were a bit lackadaisacal in my opinion but focused in at the end of the games and won each one by 6 or 7 points. Our next match was against the good team of Wong/Mayer. KK is injured so Wong picked up Mayer for MB. Good pickup too. I think very highly of Mayer' game. We battled them and were fortunate to come out with a 21-19, 21-18 win. It was a good game highlighted with some fireworks between Wong and I. Nothing major, just competitive chatter if you will. :)

On Saturday we played team jump serve, Fred and Anthony, in the morning. Boy was team jump serve on their service game. Frankly, that is the best I have ever seen Fred and Anthony play. They both played exceptional ball and served extremely well. We mostly served Fred and he sided out very well. The first game we pulled away mid-game and won 21-14 or so. In the second game, Fred went off from the service line. At one point they were up 12-2. Fred served something like 10 points in a row. They all were bombs and they were all in. Pretty crazy actually. We "brought" it back to lose 21-13 or so. In the third game they continued to serve really well and sided out well too. They didn't get a ton of aces, just creating havoc with their serves. They tend to target Phil rather than me and he was struggling to pass their serves. I was bump setting him from 30 feet off the net and that puts a lot of pressure on me to set him decently and of course for him to put it away. The third was a battle but Anthony sided out to win 15-13. Congrats to them on what Anthony labeled probably his biggest win of his career. I will say this, it was not a fluke that they beat us as they took Jake and Rosy to three and then on Sunday morning they took out Stein and Lambo in 3 games to give Stein and Lambo a 5th place finish. They then battled Sean and Dax but eventually lost 15-13 in the third. Nice tourney by them and congrats to both of them.

So that loss sent Phil and I into the losers bracket. Not a fun place to be and one that Phil and I do our best to avoid at all cost. After the women's final we played Mariano and Ratledge. We played well and won by 5 or so points in each game. Our next match was against Scott Wong and Aaron Wachtfogel. It was the last game Saturday afternoon. I think Scott was a bit tired after going through the losers bracket. The first was competitive but we won by a couple of points. In the second we jumped out immediately and Scott was looking very weary. We won that game fairly easily to advance to Sunday.

On Sunday we played Mark Williams and Nick Lucena who had upset Keenan/Hyden on Saturday. We played very well and beat them in two game by about the scores of 17 and 17. This pitted us against Jake and Rosy who had gone through the winners bracket. It was Phil and I's first game on center court as the number three seed gets no love. I came out with my radar way off. I was seeing everything really well but when I went to execute it wasn't working the way I envisioned. We fell behind 8-2 in the first. I felt okay as we took a timeout as I knew I just had to clean it up and we would be good. I did just that and we fought back to win 24-22. In the second game we continued to play well and I think their sails were a bit deflated after losing that first game with a big lead. I think the score of the second was 14 or 13.

That put us in the finals against my old partners and buddies, Dax and Sean. I truly enjoy playing against both of them because I have nothing but respect for the way they play the game and of course all the banter we throw back and forth to one another. They were really strong in the first game. Sean sided out very well as we went after him in the first. Dax made some great digs and Sean was blocking well too. It was a battle back and forth throughout the first. In the end, Sean came up with a huge block vs. me to win it 22-20. The second was a battle until about 15-14. Then we pulled ahead as Sean hit a couple of balls out and I scooped Dax and put it away for a 3 point run. Score was 21-16. Throughout the game, Phil was really struggling with his serve. He wasn't hitting it very good and was missing a ton of serves. That changed dramatically in the third game and won the match for us. It was 5-5 as we had traded sideouts until Phil went back to the line. The next person to serve was Sean and when he went back to serve the score was 10-6. Phil served 5 straight points! The first was a good serve and then I think an error by Sean. The next was a block by Phil. The next was a net dribbler ace. Phil seems to like those at critical times in MB. They took a timeout and then Phil came out and bombed one down Sean's line for an ace. We got a 1oth point before they sided out. We kept the lead until the end, winning 15-11 on a line shot for a sideout by me.

It was a great win for Phil and I and got us another place on the MB pier. It's always nice to know you are immortalized on the pier.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Austria to the Granddaddy

Well Austria didn't go like Phil and I planned. Looking at the silver lining, at least we got a day of R&R at home. Now back to the grindstone.

Phil and I took a 17th in Austria which really isn't going to help us towards the 2008 Olympics. Wasted opportunity is how I see it. We lost to a great Netherlands team in a mega battle. Score was 21-16, 22-24, and 15-17. We had our chances in the second and third games and did not convert. Gotta convert against the good teams and the bad teams for that matter. We actually played pretty well as did they. It was a good game worthy of a prime time match but relegated to the 17th place match. Such are the rigors of the FIVB Tour.

So now we continue on to the Granddaddy of them all, Manhattan Beach. Looking forward to once again be semi-local and not step on a plane to go somewhere. Just a leisurely drive down the 101 to the South Bay. Maybe take PCH to enjoy the view.

Things are definetely heating up in this stretch drive on the AVP. You have teams battling for the Best of the Beach in San Francisco (top 8 teams), God of the Beach in Vegas (top 12 players with top 4 getting byes into the second round), end of the year total points (all 16 regular season tourneys), Crocs Cup (best 14 out of 16 tourneys), most wins on tour, and of course who wins the most money on tour. Lots of fun stuff to look at. Phil and I are ahead in all those categories but not by much. We have our work cut out for us over the next month. Looking forward to it.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Struggling in Pool Play

Phil and I managed to escape out of pool play as the third place team. No bye this time around though as we have received in the other Grand Slams. We did the same thing last year so we will look to last year as our inspiration for this year.

We were seeded second in the tournament and played the 31st seeded Italian team. They played well and we lost in two. Truth of the matter is that we played very poorly. We lost 21-17 and 23-21. Phil was a bit out of sorts and I was just average. I didn’t dig a lot of balls although I sided out fairly well. Think I hit one ball out and got scooped a couple of times. Phil was struggling to sideout and pass. He hit 5 balls out and his passing, which is normally pretty good, was not great. He also struggled from the service line, missing about 60% of his jump serves before he went to the jump floaty. Believe it or not, he received more serves than I did. Probably not by much, but I would guess around 60/40. He also was aced 3 times. To give you an example, at 21 all in the second game, they served the ball down the middle. He took a step to the ball and was yelling ‘you go’ and the ball almost hit his foot. Then he proceeded to say to himself, “what are you doing?” One of those games where you are just out of sorts.

Our second match was similar to our first match. We lost to the Spaniards 21-18, 21-16. Mostly a sideout affair. Phil got a lot of serves again although probably about 40/60 to me this time. He did not hit any balls out but was a little shaky on the passing which led to him getting blocked several times. One of them I set him too tight and he got blocked. He also got aced on a wicked float serve down his line. I gave up my usual couple of scoopies for the other team which they converted for points. We were ahead most of the second but collapsed at the end of the match. Still out of sorts.

In our third match we played Estonia and beat them in the first 21-14. We played much better on offense and defense. They went right after Phil in the beginning of the game and he passed perfect and sided out perfectly as well. That made them go at me and other than one dig, they didn’t score at all. In the the second game we jumped out to a 7-0 lead and they forfeited due to injury. The left sider has a bad shoulder and he was struggling to put the ball away. Good win at this time for us. We needed it.

Now we have one more match to win today. We have to play in the first round of the playoffs but it will be a draw so who knows where we will end up. Hopefully we will get a good draw as there are some good draws and bad draws out there. Either way, we made our bed by not winning and now we get to lie in it.

Live Scoring in Austria

Wanted to let everyone know that you can watch live scoring at


Check it out.