The Professor: Todd Rogers After Olympic Gold

In 2008, UCSB alum Todd Rogers and his partner, Phil Dalhausser, qualified for the Beijing Olympics as the top seeded volleyball team. That year, Rogers and Dalhausser had been virtually unstoppable on both the AVP and FIVB tours, tallying eight domestic wins and three international wins, all in Grand Slam events. Yet in their first match of the preliminary round of the 2008 Olympics, they lost in two sets to the Latvia team, the 23rd seed.

Whatever the cause of that loss, Rogers and Dalhausser could not afford another, and after that match they lost only two more sets throughout the rest of the tournament. They shut out their next two preliminary round opponents, Switzerland and Argentina, defeating both teams two sets to none to move on to the playoffs.

In their round of 16 match, they faced another Swiss team. After handily winning the first set, Rogers and Dalhausser just missed closing the match out in the second as the Swiss team narrowly came back to extend the match to three sets. In the final set, however, the two Americans found their groove once again and took the set 15-13 to move on to the quarterfinals, in which the defeated Germany in two sets.
 
Their semifinal match pitted them against a team from Georgia, who they brushed aside with ease, winning the first set 21-11 and the second 21-13. Despite that first loss in the preliminaries, Rogers and Dalhausser had come back to earn a spot in the gold medal match.

On August 22, 2008, Rogers and Dalhausser took to the sand to face off with the third-seeded team in the Olympics, a Brazilian team of Mario Araujo and Fabio Luiz. The Americans eked out a win the first set 23-21, but the Brazilians came back to take the second set 21-17 and force a third set. After coming so far, Rogers and Dalhausser refused to be denied, and they ended the match with a commanding 15-4 win in the third set to earn their first gold medal.

Four years later, Rogers and Dalhausser are looking for a repeat of their 2008 performance and take home another gold medal in what Rogers says will be his final Olympics. They will enter the Olympics as the second-ranked team in the world, despite having won five consecutive AVP tour championships, from 2007 to 2011, and setting a FIVB record for most wins in a single season in 2011 and finishing that year ranked first in the world.

Rogers graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1996 with a degree in religious studies and a minor in coaching. As a Gaucho, he was named as an All-American in 1995 and 1996, and he still ranks second in school history in career digs and career assists, with 783 and 4,831, respectively.

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