2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Huntington Beach

I hope everyone is having or had a great Memorial Day Weekend. It was a good one for Phil and I down in Huntington Beach. We won our 4th tourney of the year on the AVP Tour. The weather was great down at the beach and it is always great to be on a real beach rather than a man made one.

Tourney started at 9am on Friday morning for us. We played Pepe Delahoz and Scotty Lane in the first round. I think we won 18 and 13. Scotty was bombing jump serves and had a bunch of aces but we were steady enough to win the match. In our second round we played Larry Witt and Jose Loiola. Larry was bombing his jump serve and had at least 4 if not 5 aces. They probably served Phil 70% of the time. When he passed well he was pretty much automatic but they were scoring on aces and shanks. We ended up winning like 15 and 22-20.

On Saturday we played Ed Ratledge and Ryan Mariano. We played well and won 15 and 16 or so. Our next match we played Casey Patterson and Ty Loomis. They had upset Mayer and Nygaard and were playing well. We won 15 and 17 to advance to Sunday.

On Sunday we played John Hyden and Sean Scott. We started out well in both games and were able to maintain the lead pretty much the entire match. Not sure of the scores but mid teens I think. In the finals we played Rosy and Jake for the umpteenth time and 3rd time this year. The first game was back and forth. Lots of points scored by both teams. They had the upper hand as they scored to make it 20-19 them. We sided out though and Phil had a monster block on Jake to go up one and then we scored another point to win 22-20. In the second game we jumped out to a big lead but they came back to tie the game up at 13 all. At 14 all we scored 4 or 5 points in a row and won 21-17. The last several points were crazy rallies where Rosy and I were trading off insane digs. Full sprawling on shots and scooping bombs. Had a lot of fun as it seemed like it was more of a defensive minded game then a serve and block game. Next stop in Atlanta.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

San Diego, NCAA Champs, & Houston

Lots to talk about and catch up on. First off the AVP event in San Diego. Quite possibly the worst fan attended tournament of all time. There might have been 100 fans there at any given point in time. If you watched the finals on TV, you know what I mean. I think the players outnumbered the fans. As far as the tourney went for me, we were pretty average. We beat Ty Loomis and Casey Patterson after receiving a first round bye. We played pretty well and they never got their serves going. That was Friday. On Saturday we played Hans and Anthony and gave them a bit of a beat down. Hans seemed a little off that game. Not very crisp in his offensive game and then even went to a float serve which I don't remember the last time he did that. Anthony was hitting the snot out of balls as you would expect. In the night game we played John and Sean and lost in 3 games. The third game they smoked us as I couldn't find the court to save my life. The next morning we played Jake and Sean in the 5th place game and lost in 3 games. They won the first, we won the second and we were up 9-5 in the third when my back went out pretty bad. I dug the next ball but Rosy dug me back and put it away. To their credit, the next serve Jake went down Phil's line and he shanked it to where I barely got it and we free balled it over and they scored. The next ball Jake stuffed Phil to make it 9-8 us. Then I gave up a bunch of points and was generally pathetic to lose 15-12. Back felt good until that hit at 9-5. The drive back home sucked! Do want to say congrats to John Mayer and Jeff Nygaard. Smoopsie is back! They beat Jake and Rosy twice in San Diego and that is no mean feat. So Phil and I took a 5th and it was the first time in about 3 years or so that we didn't make the semis in an AVP tourney. Good to break streaks sometimes.

I want to give a huge congrats to John Speraw and his UCI team. What he has done there is simply amazing and is a credit to how good of a coach he really is. Makes it easier to say that knowing that John is a great guy and deserving of all the accolades he recieves. Good job!

Finally I can catch up and talk about Houston. Had a lot of work on the back after San Diego and have to thank Ernie, Rob and Kalao in a big way. Houston has a lot of potential to be a great event in my opinion. As always, it needs to be well marketed to get the people out there and introduce beach volleyball to the city of Houston. The venue was unreal though. Tennis venue but had 3 pools, a weight room, gymnasium, indoor track, indoor tennis courts and more... Really impressed and I hope we are able to go back there next year. In the matches we played well. We played Placek and Carlucci for like the 29th time this year. They were not great and we took advantage of that beating them fairly easily. We then played Hans and Anthony again and played well to win easily. That was on Friday and Saturday respectively. We were suppossed to play John and Sean Saturday night but rain, lightning and thunder stopped play around 4pm that day. So we got up bright and early and played at 7:30 in the morning. The first game we were good and the second game they were good. In the third we upped it back up and won 15-12. We have had some good battles against those guys. In the semis we played Hans and Anthony again as they battled through the loser bracket beating some higher ranked teams along the way. We won in 2 games although closer than the previous 2 meetings. Congrats on a good finish to both of them. In the finals we played John and Sean again. Played really well and won in 2 games. Those guys are playing really well right now though. Especially Sean. He is really mixing his hitting and shots and it is effective. They serve tough and their block/defense is really really good and savvy. Good tourney for them although I am sure they would rather have won.

Nice to be back in the winners circle and hopefully we can continue that in Huntington Beach.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship - Saturday, 4pm PDT - ESPN2

UC Irvine vs. USC

5 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. ET
ESPN2 (Live)

Hans Stolfus Blog

Hans Stolfus mentioned this blog on his blog.

Hans was very complimentary towards Phil and Todd in his posting on the San Diego event -

"On Saturday, we opened up play with Dalhausser/Rogers and got crushed. They’re just too good. They really are. I know they had an off weekend and took a 5th. And I know this could have been my best shot to beat them. But I also know that their 50% game is better than 98% of the rest of the field. And I know we didn’t play well enough to warrant a victory. What’s truly unfortunate is; how we let our negative mojo carry over into the next match with Prosser/Brazao at 9th place in the loser’s bracket. So, to recap against Phil and Todd, we got them in trouble on our serves, but it wasn’t enough to get them out of rhythm, Phil blocked every hard driven ball I made even the slightest mistake on, and Todd dug every shot I didn’t place exactly where I wanted. They’re awesome, and they’re still going to win Houston despite their little set back at the worst beach volleyball venue ever assembled."

You might want to checkout the Hans Stolfus blog.

- Tom Jack (the Blog Admin)

Jesusita fire in SB

Lest anyone be concerned, I am a long ways from the fire. I have had several people email me asking if my house was okay. I live in Solvang which is about 20 miles away from where the fire is burning in Santa Barbara.

That being said, my parents have been evacuated although I think their house will be okay. My grandparents are under evacuation watch but I would be shocked if the fire got that far. I have several friends who have been evacuated as well and hopefully all of their houses are okay. The winds have been ridiculous but hopefully things will start calming down.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I never posted my thoughts on Leonard leaving, being forced out or whatever you want to call it so I figured I would now that we have a weekend off from the tour. In my mind it is a touchy subject. Many players were ecstatic that he was out and were vocal in their support of the new management forcing him out. Others were more reserved. I tend to be in the more reserved camp.

I feel a great debt of gratitude to Leonard for resurrecting the tour from the junk pile back in 2001. When I look at the players currently playing, I realize that none of them were playing when the AVP was going through the upheavals of the late 90's and only a few of them were playing when Leonard took over the tour. They don't have the perspective I have. I went full time on the AVP tour in 1997 with a 4.5 million dollar tour ahead of me and the top 20 guys making close to $100,000 in prize money a year. And that doesn't include the sponsorship money that tons of sponsors were paying out. I didn't get paid 25% of my prize money that year due to all the fiscal problems. The next year I played for a tour with 1 million in prize money, 20 stops all at $50,000 prize money. Quite the difference from $100,000 minimum prize money, 25 stops and some tourneys up to $300,000 prize money. So 1997 through 2001 were kind of difficult years. You had to scrape by by playing on the AVP, hoping to have some decent sponsorship money, maybe playing on the FIVB to supplement income and any other tour that happened to be around.

Leonard gave the AVP stability. The first 2 years (2002 & 2003) there wasn't a lot of tourneys or prize money to be had. The top players were playing mostly on the FIVB to be able to make a living. These were actually my leanest years on tour. We had no support from USAV to play internationally and the FIVB tour was expensive to play on. Lots of air travel, hotels and food to pay for. Sponsors were far and few between. The AVP was growing but with 7 tourneys and 9 tourneys respectively it still wasn't very lucrative to play only on the AVP.

In 2004 things began to look up. 12 tourneys was a good number to have and with prize money increasing things were looking much better. You have to lay this at Leonard's feet and say thank you. He and his crew worked tirelessly to build the property. Getting it on TV and getting sponsors to come on board to name a few things. Also in 2004 the first of the bad things started to happen. It was only one thing in my mind and most players didn't think it was bad at the time although I was one of the few that openly argued against it. That was the contract extension through 2008. It was a one sided contract in the AVP's favor and the AVP could do this as they had all the leverage and had shown over the past 2+ years that they were doing a good job. The players fell in line and I see this as the beginning of a long and winding downhill path.

In 2005 there was a significant increase in prize money and the number of tourneys went up to 14. This was a good year. Players were not that interested in playing in too many FIVB events other than to try and keep points up and get Bonus Pool money. There were problems with the FIVB at that point as well. The AVP looked sound and it was a hot property.

In 2006 the prize money again went up and the tourneys went up to 16. This meant it was harder to play on the FIVB and guys were trying to jockey for position with the Olympics only 2+ years away and qualifying starting in less than a year. Problems started to occur between players and management. Most of it was kept under wraps but the grumblings were growing louder. My personal opinion on the matter is that Leonard should have voluntarily stepped down in either 2005 or 2006. The AVP was still growing and things looked pretty good. He would have been hailed as a savior by the players and most everyone involved. His reputation with the players would have been for the most part great. This of course didn't happen and the next 2 years became volatile to say the least. I won't go into them as most everyone has seen what has happened over the past 2 years or so.

My take, I think it is a good thing Leonard is out of the AVP. That may not sit well with Leonard or Holly or those close to Leonard, but I feel it is for the best. I think most of the players would agree with me. With that in mind I fully support the new management as it is new management and we have a fresh start. Time of course will tell and by the end of this year I hope to have a vibrant outlook on the AVP tour and management. We shall see though. Let us not forget the debt of gratitude that is owed Leonard. Look at the body of work rather than what have you done for me lately. Personally I wish to thank Leonard for the good he has done. It wasn't all roses between us but I am okay with that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

San Diego

Well San Diego was a bust for us. First time in awhile that we didn't make the semi's of a tourney. Ended up in 5th place.

We drove down Friday morning for our 2:30 match vs. Casey Patterson and Ty Loomis. This is a very good up and coming team in my opinion. Good jumps serves, good block/defense and both of them have great ball control. We won the match 17 and 15 but it was a hard fought match on both sides of the net.

On Saturday we played Hans and Anthony and won in two games 18 and 16. Another team similar to Ty and Casey. They have great offensive capabilities combined with great ball control. They are a very tough serving team too. Saturday night we played the late game vs. Sean Scott and John Hyden. We started slow and lost the 1st game. We won the second game but then I was terrible in the third and we got smoked. Sean sided out really well mixing up shots, hits, and offspeed stuff.

Sunday morning we played Jake and Rosy. They won the first game and we won the second in traditional fashion. In the third we were looking great up 9-5 but let it slip away after I had a good point opportunity to go 10-5. Lost 15-12 to take a 5th.