Dalhausser Different, but Still Among the Best

By BJ Evans | Dec. 10, 2014, 11:16 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS (Dec. 10, 2014) – The last time Phil Dalhausser was named the USA Volleyball Male Beach Player of the Year was December of 2011.

Phil Dalhausser
   Phil Dalhausser, left, celebrates with Sean Rosenthal.

Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was 31 and was still playing with Todd Rogers, with whom he had won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He was considered the best blocker and setter on the FIVB World Tour. In his personal life, he had just married wife Jennifer, but still considered video games and fantasy leagues his favorite off-sand activities.

Things have changed for Dalhausser. And yet, he is still considered one of the best in the world and has been named the USAV Male Beach Player of the Year for 2014. It is the fifth time he has received the honor.

“I’ve become a little smarter on the court,” Dalhausser said of the biggest difference between 2011 and 2014. “I was probably one of the more physical players on the court in the world at any time. I didn’t have to figure out ways to get out of jams. I could just hit myself out of jams.

“Now I use more brain and less brawn I guess.”

Dalhausser had to rely more on his volleyball intelligence in 2014 after suffering an abdominal strain at the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif. The strain got worse in subsequent events and Dalhausser ended his season early at the AVP event in Cincinnati in August.

“I couldn’t hit or jump serve (with the strain) so I had to figure out ways to side out,” Dalhausser said. “Word gets around real fast when you’re injured. Guys were serving me. I had to figure out real fast how to put the ball away without hitting it.”

Prior to suffering the injury in Long Beach, Dalhausser and partner Sean Rosenthal made the finals in three straight FIVB grand slams, winning gold in Stavanger, Norway and Gstaad, Switzerland while taking silver in The Hague, Netherlands. And despite the injury, Dalhausser and Rosenthal put the icing on the cake with a victory in Long Beach.

“That was pretty sweet,” Dalhausser said of the run.

The pair also took bronze at the Moscow Grand Slam. On the AVP domestic tour, Dalhausser and Rosenthal won the Manhattan Beach Open for the first time as a team. They also took a second at Milwaukee and third in St. Petersburg, Fla. Dalhausser led all AVP men’s players in hitting percentage at .486.

But Dalhausser was disappointed that he and Rosenthal did not win the AVP points title due to Dalhausser’s injury, which he said has healed.

“I haven’t swung at a volleyball since Cincinnati,” he said. “At first I would feel it when I would get out of bed, or out of a chair. Now I never feel it. I hope it’s all good.”

Along with the AVP points title, Dalhausser said he hopes he and Rosenthal can medal at the 2015 FIVB World Championships and also put themselves in a position to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

But Dalhausser’s life is about more than just volleyball now, and that’s another thing that has changed since 2011. Dalhausser is now a father to Sebastian (born in 2013) and Sophia (born in 2014). And he doesn’t even mind that fatherhood has cut into his video game time.

“They’re the best. They’re a ton of fun. It sucks that I have to be gone all summer long. But the trade-off is I’m home all day in the winter. All I have to do is work out in my garage. Then I’m done for the day and I’m on daddy duty.”

USA Volleyball Male Beach Player of the Year

2014: Phil Dalhausser
2013: Jake Gibb
2012: Jake Gibb
2011: Phil Dalhausser
2010: Phil Dalhausser
2009: Phil Dalhausser
2008: Phil Dalhausser
2007: Todd Rogers