After only a single day of play, the tournament ended just before sundown with 4 winners between two teams. Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers took the first title in the AVP Crocs tour in Panama City Beach Sunday. Heavy winds and rain cancelled play on Saturday and resulted in an abbreviated single-elimination tournament that ended around 7 pm. The women’s title was won by Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs.
It was a battle of Beijing Olympians in the men’s final, with gold medalists Dalhausser and Rogers facing off against fellow Team USA members and No. 2 seeds Jake Gibb (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Sean Rosenthal (Corona Del Mar, Calif.). The gold medalists bested the fifth-place finishers 19-21, 21-18, 15-9.
“Jake and Sean played really well the first set and halfway through the second,” said Dalhausser. “Coming back was such a mental boost. We rarely play this many matches in a day, but we’re in pretty good shape as a team.”
Dalhausser and Rogers advanced to Sunday’s final after defeating No. 4 seeds Brad Keenan (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Florida State graduate Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 21-12, 21-10. Gibb and Rosenthal reached the final by eliminating No. 6 seeds Matt Olson (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Kevin Wong (Honolulu) to the tune of 21-15, 21-10.
On the women’s side, the top seeds also bested the second-seeds, with Branagh and Youngs toppling Jen Kessy (San Clemente, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) in three games:16-21, 21-18, 15-9.
“Jen and April came out on fire serving,” said Youngs. “But we put the pressure on them with our serving and Nicole played incredible defense. When you play single elimination, you go point by point, balls to the wall, play smart, play aggressive.”
Youngs claimed her 43rd career title, solidifying her spot in the Top 10 career wins on the women’s side. 2008 AVP Crocs Tour Most Improved Player Branagh claimed her 8th.
Branagh and Youngs advanced to the final by defeating No. 4 seeds Angie Akers (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) 30-28, 21-13. Kessy and Boss took out No, 3 seeds Annett Davis (Valencia, Calif.) and Jenny Johnson Jordan (Wexford, Pa.), 21-19, 19-21, 21-19. Source: avp.com
The weather yesterday was perfect, the crowds mild and the action intense. Being Sunday, I was only there for a bit, but managed to get some great pictures and video (which will be posted later this week).