A new alliance will be watched closely this season in what could produce the best professional beach volleyball team in the world.
After disappointing fifth-place finishes with partner Jake Gibb in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, Hermosa Beach resident Sean Rosenthal has joined forces with 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser. Their goal is gold at 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Although Rosenthal and Gibb were the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) SWATCH World Tour champions in 2012, Gibb will be 40 years old during the next Olympics. Rosenthal, who was raised in Redondo Beach, is 32 entering this season while Dalhausser turned 33 in January.
Dalhausser separated ways with Todd Rogers, 38, after he decided not to play internationally. Partnering in 2006, the duo was one of the most successful beach volleyball teams in history winning the FIVB World Championship in 2007, Olympic gold in 2008 and 12 FIVB World Tour Grand Slams.
Dalhausser’s decision to partner with Rosenthal will enable him to play the right side. Standing 6-foot-9, Dalhausser is a formidable opponent at the net. The versatile 6-foot-3 Rosenthal is an accomplished hitter with either hand.
Manhattan Beach native Mike Dodd, one of pro beach volleyball’s greatest players, has been a successful coach and will mentor Rosenthal and Dalhausser this season.
“Training with Phil has been going great,” Rosenthal said. “”I’ve always seen Phil as the best player on the court and with him playing on the right (side), it will be a new challenge for him.”
Rosenthal said that Dalhausser was the only player he would leave his partnership with Gibb to play alongside.
“It was the hardest and easiest decision I’ve had to make in my career,” Rosenthal acknowledged. “I know Phil will have his blocks and his aces, but it’s the little things that he does that have really caught my eye.”
With the instability of tours in the Unites States, Rosenthal said they will spend most of the season playing overseas in the FIVB.
The FIVB tour runs from April to November. The 2013 schedule will include 11 Grand Slam tournaments, an increase from eight in 2012 and six in 2011. A record $7.5 million in prize money will be awarded, beginning with the first Grand Slam in Shanghai, China April 30-May 5.
Domestically, the Hermosa Beach-based National Volleyball League will host 10 events including the West Coast Championship in Hermosa Beach Aug. 16-18.
The Association of Volleyball Professional (AVP) and Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series will be announcing their 2013 schedules soon.