||Stein Metzger and Mike Lambert continued their mid-season hot streak on Sunday as they defeated the top-seeded duo of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, 23-21, 15-21, 15-13 in the men's final of the AVP Seaside Heights Open presented by Bud Light. In a very close women's final, Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh defeated the red-hot April Ross and Jennifer Boss, 21-19, 18-21, 16-14, to earn their second championship of the 2007 season. Absent from Seaside Heights was the AVP's super team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who won a gold medal at a FIVB event in Montreal this weekend|
Stein Metzger and Mike Lambert continued their hot streak on Sunday as they defeated Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in the final of the AVP Seaside Heights Open
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — Phil Dalhausser is powerful. Maybe a little too powerful.
Nobody is perfect.
However, the eight attack errors in the match were enough to sting Dalhausser and partner Todd Rogers, who dropped a grueling 23-21, 15-21, 15-13 match to Mike Lambert and Stein Metzger in 90 minutes.
The finals match marked the second consecutive time that these two teams matched up and Metzger-Lambert emerged victoriously. Now both teams are split with three titles apiece in their six meeting in AVP finals.
"We sidedout a little better and we beat them in two the last time," said Lambert of the case of déjà vu this weekend. "This time Rogie was doing a really good job — I couldn't really block him and he was dodging us."
While all three games were very tight, the deciding factor came off an error at the end of the third. The one time that Dalhausser's power was too much, it cost him. He also had seven service errors in the match.
"It was a little uncharacteristic by them," said Metzger.
Added Lambert, "In the end, in the third set, it came down to two errors that were crucial points for us. Phil hit one out and Rogers hit one out. If they don't have those two, then we just keep siding out and who knows what will happen."
The first game remained extremely close throughout its duration. It is clear why these two squads are among the top three on tour. 16 times they knotted up the score, with gamepoint at stake twice. Neither team wanted to bow out easily and both had to work at it to make the difference and win the game.
The longest run any team was able to put together lasted for a mere three points in that game, when Dalhausser and Rogers opened up the game to bring the score to 3-1, and then they did it again to bring the score to 5-3 a few points later. Lambert and Metzger did the same thing to tie themselves back up at 8-8.
But other than that, both teams nearly matched each other point-for-point. That led the way for long, crowd-pleasing rallies to bring the total game time to 90 minutes, marking the sixth-longest match in beach volleyball history, international or domestic.
The rallies came courtesy of the court conditions. With an actual beach comes deeper sand, which is easier on the body than the tight-packed sand usually found on events sites on asphalt.
"We had some really long exciting rallies and there were a couple of times I just didn't even wanna get up off the ground for a couple of minutes," said Metzger. "It's not easy moving around in the sand. The sand here is great, it's deep, makes for great long rallies and you saw that today."
The second game dispelled any thought that Dalhausser and Rogers were going to allow themselves to be dominated. They controlled the game and stayed on top the entire time. But they could not do so again in the third, since that game also featured rally after rally, which seemed to take a physical toll on the athletes.
It was completely the opposite story in the determining game. No team ever held more than a one-point lead until the end, when Metzger and Lambert kept a two-point lead at 9-7 and maintained it until they won the match.
These are arguably the best two teams on tour, as is more than reflected in the score.
"I think we match up really well," said Metzger. "I think it's a great matchup. It's a great rivalry and I think you'll continue to see us battle back and forth."
Rogers and Dalhausser made a quick exit after their match in order to make their way to Berlin for the upcoming SWATCH-FIVB Grand Slam. Metzger and Lambert will fly out on Monday.
The shoe fits: As much as they didn't want it to, the clock struck 12 on Anthony Medel and Fred Souza's weekend Cinderella story during the men's semifinals. Their placement in the brackets set them up for a matchup against top-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers.
From the beginning of the match, it looked as if Medel and Souza were going to be the one team this weekend that had Rogers and Dalhausser figured out.
They started off the first game with a slight lead and gained enough momentum to stay on top of Rogers and Dalhausser for most of the game. But when it mattered, Dalhausser slammed down some of his kills and blocks with authority with the score tied at 18, to propel his team ahead of Medel and Souza and take the first game, 21-19.
Game 2 started out with Medel and Souza in the lead again. Even though they tied up the game six times after they fell behind by one point, Medel and Souza fell victim to the same fate as they did in the first game. Dalhausser owned that game as well, and he and Rogers ran away with the game at 14-14 to win, 21-15.
As for the No. 2 seed, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, they too left Seaside in third place after falling to Lambert and Metzger in the semifinals, 21-13, 22-24, 15-10