SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With two wins in their first two matches of the preliminary round of the 2012 Olympic beach volleyball tournament, former Gaucho Todd Rogers and his partner, Phil Dalhausser are well on their way to claiming their second Olympic gold medal in a row, though perhaps with a little more controversy than they would have liked.
On Sunday the duo played and won their first match of the tournament against a Japanese team of Asahi and Shiratori in two sets, taking the first one 21-15 and the second 21-16. Dalhausser had three service aces in the match and committed only one fault while Asahi and Shiratori each committed two. Rogers did not record a fault in the match.
Tuesday's match against Spain's Adrian Collado and Pablo Allepuz gave the Americans a lot more trouble. Rogers and Dalhausser once again out-aced their opponents, this time 3-1, but recorded seven faults to Spain's five. Spain took the first set 21-19, but Rogers and Dalhausser bounced back in the second with a 21-16 victory.
It was in the final set that the aforementioned controversy occurred. With the United States up 13-12, Rogers took a spike off the chest and then popped the ball into the air to Dalhausser, who passed it back to Rogers to clear it, which put them up 14-12 and one point away from victory. The Spaniards argued that the Americans had taken four hits, one more than the three allowed, to clear the ball, but referee Marc Berard of France ruled that the spike off the chest did not count. After the match, Rogers told the ref that he also believed he had committed a double-hit. Spain won the next point but the match eventually went to Rogers and Dalhausser, who took the final set 15-13.
The win against Spain guarantees that the Americans will not be eliminated in pool play. Their next and final match of the preliminary round will take place against Benes and Kubala of the Czech Republic on Thursday.