2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fortaleza Finals

Played well against the Swiss. We only had the one game today so pretty mellow out here.

Started off a little back and forth but started to pull away mid game. Had a comfortable lead towards the end of the first. The second we were up 6-0 and 12-2 to start the game. They sided out better from there but the game was over for both teams by then. The first game was mostly serving. Laciga got an ace on me and the other guy got an ace on Phil. Phil had two or three of his own and I was just floating it in the court. Second game we just kept the serve in and they gave us a lot of points with errors. So on to the finals and a rematch with Ricardo and Emanuel.

Certainly it is difficult to beat a team twice in the same tourney but that is not going to change our game or mindset going into tomorrows finals. The wind is less of a factor on center court. More swirly and you can jump serve from both sides. The semi with the brasilians was pretty good. Had a little of everything. In the end, Emanuel and Ricardo made the plays to win. Should be fun. Looking forward to playing the match and then jumping on a flight to Sao Paulo and then home. One more day!!

Fortaleza Semis

Thank you to all that commented on my last blogs. Been fun getting to meet all of you at the various sites around where you live.

Our last game yesterday was a fun one. We played on an outer court so it was windier than in center court where we have not played yet. I think that definetely played to our advantage. Game started off pretty even. Both teams siding out and occasionally getting a point due to a tough serve on the good side. Think we switched 11-10 up. Then we increased the lead to two points as it got close to the end. Phil had a chance for a point on an overpass on a jump serve by me, but he got scooped by Ricardo on a left handed spike. Phil scooped him back but hit a waffle ball out on the spike. That would have made it 19-17 with me still serving on the good side and given us a chance at sideout for game. Instead it went 18 all and we traded sideouts from there to go to the bad side. We traded one sideout and then Phil shanked a ball for them to go up the sideout to win. We managed to sideout and then Phil stuffed Emmanuel and then stuffed Ricardo on a trap set. Pulled it out 26-24.

In the second game we played pretty darn good. Went up early and never gave it up. They got back to within 17-15 with us on the good side siding out. But Phil sided out and we took a 19-16 lead to the bad side. Scored two straight points and it was over. Good win to follow up our win in Swissland over them.

Next up is the tough serving team of Laciga/Schnieder from Swissland. Laciga unloads on his serve every time. He has no conscious when it comes to missing. They are both big guys and sideout pretty well. I expect a tough battle, especially in the wind. Although it will be on center court where the wind is not as much as a factor.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wind Ball in Brasil

So far so good here in Brasil. Some how or other Phil and I have continued to win. We beat the Latvians pretty good yesterday afternoon. We were up 9-0 in the first and 8-0 in the second. Ended up winning 21-10 and 21-15. Was not so much us as it was them. They were struggling a lot. It got to the point where their coach, who is also the dad of one of the guys, was laughing at every point. Kind of felt bad for them but you gotta win.

In our first match today we took on Franco/Cunha from Brasil. Played well and served well too. We won 21-15 and 21-18. I was actually serving really well. Better than Phil if that is possible. Just hitting it as hard as I could in the wind and letting the wind do crazy things to the ball. So we sit at 5th place now and play Emanuel/Ricardo in the semis of the winners in about 1 hour. I am sure they are looking to exact a little revenge from Switzerland. See if Phil and I can~t beat them anyways.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crapshoot in Brasil

Ridiculously windy here in Fortaleza!!! Kind of a crapshoot as to who is going to win each and every game. In our first game we played Ces/Ces from France and it was who could actually pass and keep the ball in play as well as rip your jump serve from the good side. It is howling windy and not really much in the way of beach volleyball. We were down big in the first game, 9-5, before going to the good side and switching 10-11. Pulled it out 21-18 from the bad side and fortunately they missed a serve for game. In the second we came out strong and put them away early. We switched to the good side up 13-8 and then Phil served 7 straight points. A couple of aces but a lot of errors too. Won that won 21-11.

Couple of things that people probably want to know. What is the deal with KWong and Tyra? From what I hear, Kevin~s visa was out of date. They put it on as day/month/year rather than month first followed by day and year as we do in the states. So basically they did not allow him into the country. Tyra just did not get her passport and visa back in time to leave f0r brasil. So Rachel asked Nancy to come down as she had a current visa. They are doing okay considering. Would say the wind should help them.

Have to play our second match against a young team from Latvia. They are hungry and pretty darn goood. Then again, it is so windy that it will still matter who can keep the ball in and bomb their serve. Should be real fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Best of the Beach

Phil and I were not able to defend our title as the best of the beach in San Francisco. That went to the well deserving team of Matty Furbs and Casey Jennings. They have been playing really good ball lately and showed that in the finals. Congratulations to them on winning!

As for Phil and I, well, we were pretty average this tourney. We were lucky to make the semi's in truth. We beat Nick and Mark in 3 games but should have lost. We were down 8-3 in the third as I couldn't side out or find the sand for the life of me. We came back purely behind Phil's blocking and several errors by them. Fortunate to escape.

Against Anthony and Fred we once again escaped by the skin of our teeth. We got smoked in the first game due to a gaggle of aces by Fred and Anthony. They again mostly went at Phil with very tough serves and forced a lot of bad passes and shanks. In the second game the tides were turned as Anthony was struggling to find the court with some shakier sets by Fred. In the third, we found ourselves down 13-10. Phil sided out and then controversy struck. Phil dropped and scooped a line shot by Anthony. He swung deep angle and it barely hit the line. I heard it hit the line. The line judge called it out first and then changed his call to in. The top ref gave it to us and then they had to check the line ect.... Fred kept saying it was out as did Anthony. Ended up giving it to us and Fred just about killed the ref. I went and looked and to me it looked clearly in. It was funny as we were discussing all this my daughter came out on the sand and gave her "two cents." It was pretty classic in my view. I don't think anyone else appreciated it though.

That made the score 13-12 us down. We switched sides and Anthony hammered one angle that I picked barely off the sand and it shot over the net to Fred who hit it into the net to tie it 13 all. They sided out the next play as did we. Next play I remember is Phil stuffing Anthony for match. Escaped again.

During the first game my daughter, Hannah, who was right next to the box, was trying to give Phil passing advice. She was yelling Phil's name and when I looked over she was showing him how to get low and get his arms out in front of him. Put everything in perspective for me after that. Phil didn't see her doing that but it was a classic moment for me.

In our semifinal game vs. Jake and Rosy we straight up got beat. They came out very aggressive from the service line and had 4 clean winners down Phil's line and also forced several bad passes by him. They were really fired up and we were not. Rosy played great defense and Jake blocked a bunch of balls. Mostly me in transition as I think he got me about 3 times. The second game was closer. We were up 18-17 before they sided out and Phil hit two balls out. Rosy then sided out for match to win 21-19. We were very lethargic and just didn't have it that day.

Phil's knee has been bugging him and we are both pretty banged up. Therefore, Phil decided to rest the knee rather than play in the third place game. Hyden and Keenan took our place and beat Mike and Stein in 2 games. Phil is okay and we will be playing in Brazil in the last tourney of the year. Thank God on that one!!!! Ready for the season to be done!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

God of the Beach

Didn't turn out like I hoped it would but you have to hand it to John Hyden who played a hell of a tourney. Grovelled all the way through from day 1 and and took home the God of the Beach title. I didn't see his play on Thursday but obviously he played well enough to advance. In our pool he was clearly the best player on Friday and Saturday.

I teamed with Stein vs. Matt/John in our first match on Friday and Stein and I lossed 21-16 and 16. Felt like we touched a lot of balls but needed to control and convert to realistically give us a chance at winning. John played really well and I thought Matt was solid.

In our first match on Saturday I played with John vs. Stein/Matt. John and I played really well. He set me great and I felt like I sided out exceptionally well. He sided out well too and we won 21-13 and 16. Glad it was done in two games as it was really hot out in Vegas for that 4pm match. By virtue of our win, it came down to John and I as to who would advance out of our pool to play for the god of the beach. I liked my chance with Matt but had to win big to secure a shot at the title.

Matt and I came out really strong in the first game and won 21-14. This gave me a shot to beat John. I had to win 21-17 or better in the second game to win outright and 21-18 to force a tie. They came out and played very well and had a lead for most of the game. Matt and I didn't make the plays when we really needed to and when John went up 19-16 it was essentially over. They won the second game and forced a 3rd game. We were only playing for $$$ at that point but that was certainly motivation enough for Matt and I. We won 15-13 in the third to make a little more dough.

All in all I had a great time in Vegas. My wife came out sans kids and it was like a mini honeymoon. We had our friends the Rays out as well as some family and other friends from where we live. Great times with friends and some of the best meals I have had in quite some time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Vegas Baby

If you can't make it to the Vegas tourney you are missing out. Everyone has a lot of fun and it is very cool to see different teams out there. Often times it ends up being next years team.

Vegas is a tough tourney for the little guy. Even though I won last year, I think it was due in huge part to luck. In my pool were 3 big guys and me. The serves I did get I just shot them down. I think a little guy only has a chance in pool when there are 3 big guys with him or obviously 4 little guys in the pool.

This week the pools are as follows:
Pool 1: Rosy, Keenan, Casey and Fred
Pool 2: Gibb, Hyden, Furbs, and Dax

Those guys will join up with either:
Pool 3: Todd, Stein and....
Pool 4: Phil, Lambo and ....

For me, I am hoping for 2 little guys like Dax and Casey.

Couple of notes on this tourney. If you get to the final you cannot pick your partner from Cincinnati. So I would not be able to pick Phil or him me. Right now, I have no idea who I would pick. Last year I played with 3 big men and they were all pretty easy to play with. I played right side the whole time and Lambo, Jake, and Furbs played the left and got served every ball. Ended up going with old faithful in Sean Scott though. He isn't there this year so right now I have no idea. Would be really fun to play with Dax to run the old offense we used to run. Probably couldn't score a real point but we would have fun siding out.

If I were a betting man I would be looking for the big guy with long odds. Last year Nygaard went off at either 30-1 or 18-1. Darn good bet considering he made it to the finals. Someone could have made some serious money if he had won.

Hope to see you out in the desert. Should be a scorcher.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to all. Was a good Labor Day Weekend for Phil and I. Played well all weekend long and took care of a big goal along the way. The only downside was some seriously horrible travel for me. Ah well, all in the life...

Left Thursday morning at 6am out of SB to Denver. Everything going smoothly until we had weight issues. I gate checked my Crocs Yellow and Black backpack as I got on the plane. They closed the door 5 minutes before 6am but then opened it up 2 minutes later to ask 4 people and their bags to get off the plane. Free voucher and all that jazz. Finally got everything squared away and we go to the runway. Still to heavy so we sit for 5 minutes to "burn fuel" with the engine roaring. Finally get off the ground 50 minutes late. Zip to Denver but I have a tight connection from Denver to Dayton. 25 minutes from the time we get off the plane. Should make it though right?

I am waiting to get my bag at the base of the plane. Doesn't come out with the other gate checked bags. I start yelling at the guy about my bag. I am yelling because he has earmuffs on and about 10 planes have their engines roaring. He goes and checks the bags and finds my bag. Meanwhile, time is ticking. He puts my bag under the wing and leaves it there! I am now ticked off because I got to go catch my flight and I am looking at a full fledged sprint from gate 51 to 81. I grab another guy and he asks for my green tag I got at plane side and I give it to him. He goes to my bag and then comes back without my bag. He tells me there is no green tag on my bag. He looks in the plane and nothing there either.

I am now officially screwed for my flight to Dayton. I remember back when I gate checked it on and realize that the guy who gave me the green stub never put the rest of the ticket on my bag. I clearly remember him giving me the stub and then throwing my bag on top of the other ones. I figured he had people behind and would throw it on when he got a second. Learned my lesson to not make that assumption ever again. Guy in Denver says he needs to get his supervisor and could I please take a seat in the terminal. I am super pissed now that he can't just hand me my bag. I show him that I have my driver's license with me and that my wallet is in the bag. Doesn't matter. He tells me if I so much as touch the bag they have to shut down the entire airport due to security reasons. I am flabbergasted and pissed to all hell about the ridiculous rules that are now in place after 9/11.

I go inside and there are about 50 people waiting to get on a plane. I chuck my book down on a chair and it bounces up to the roof and I catch it as I sit down. A United rep. comes up to me nervously and tells me I need to calm down. I laugh and tell him I am very calm just really pissed off. I was getting some pretty good looks from the people about to get on their plane. The rep. was actually very helpful and ended up making sure I got to Dayton via Chicago but it was all a huge pain in the rear. Thought my bag would never make it to Dayton but when I checked the baggage carousel out it comes. Phil and I were shocked it made it all the way their.

Volleyball wise it was all good. On Friday we received a first round bye and then played Wong/Fonoi. Tough draw for us as it was only a couple of years ago when they won Manhattan. Also riding on that game was the Crocs Cup so we had a little added pressure but a little more incentive too. We played well and won 14 and 14. This accomplished a major goal of ours to win the Crocs Cup.

In our second match we played Matt and Casey who over the last couple of weeks have started to gel again. They came out fired up and took it to us as we lost the first game 21-16. Both Phil and I were pretty lethargic and Matt/Casey were playing very well. As we got ready to receive the first ball of game two Phil leans over to me and tells me, "Hey, let's both pick it up here. We won the Crocs Cup, now lets win the tourney." Thus the maturation of Phil Dalhausser continues. We came out much stronger and won 21-18 and then 15-9 in the third.

On Saturday we played Keenan/Hyden in a rematch from NY. We played very well serving really tough. Phil was bombing it and I even got in on the action with an ace off my jump serve too. We won in straight sets.

In the crossover semis we again played Matt and Casey. They had grovelled through the losers bracket and came out really slow. We took it to them in the first game. The second game they were ready to go but we were able to pull it out by playing steady and Phil's big serve. This put us in the first night final of the season. Hopefully the AVP and the promoters will do more of them as I think they are a great idea.

In the finals we played Stein and Mike. So far this year we have a winning record against them but were o-2 in the finals. We got the beat down in Charleston and then lost a tight 3 game match in Seaside Heights. We came out and Phil was a blocking machine. They were not very aggressive either. I think the first game was 21-12. In the second game they came out much more aggressive from the service line and from an offensive perspective. Stein was hammering the angle and throwing in a good shot or two to keep us off balance. Phil and I were able to keep it close. I think at one point there were 22 sideouts in a row. The score was 11-11 and Stein and I sided out all the way to 22-22. At that point I turned to Phil and I asked him what he wants to block. He says that he will take the line and just get huge. Two blocks later we win 24-22. Nice way to finish off the regular season. Now on to the always super fun specialty events in Vegas and San Fran.