John Hyden was crowned God of the Beach for the second year in a row Saturday night, after winning the AVP Crocs Best of the Beach tournament in Glendale. It is only the third AVP tournament win for Hyden, who hadn’t won a single event all season until Saturday.
“Turns out this is Johnny’s event,” said Beijing Olympics gold medalist Phil Dalhausser after the match.
It was the first time that a player won back-to-back individual titles since Karch Kiraly won his third in a row in 1993.
Tournament rules prevented players from pairing up with their regular-season partners, so with the first pick in the final, Hyden chose fan favorite Dalhausser.
“The hardest part is getting to the finals,” Hyden said. “Once you pick up Phil it’s all downhill from there.”
The win wasn’t exactly guaranteed.
Bejing Olympian Jake Gibb partnered with old teammate Stein Metzger with whom he had four tournament victories and the 2005 AVP team of the year award.
Hyden and Dalhausser had never played together before, even recreationally, but proved too much for the former teammates, beating them 21-17 in both sets.
Dalhausser and regular-season teammate Todd Rogers beat Hyden and Brad Keenan in dramatic fashion at the AVP Cup Crocs Shootout final in Santa Barbara on Sept. 7 after being down 5 points on match point.
“I figured I would help get him one here,” Dalhausser said.
Down 13-7 in the final set, Hyden and Dalhausser took over the match after going on a 7-1 run to take the lead.
Hyden won 14 of 15 sets on his way to the $27,750 in prize money.
Gibb placed second and Dalhausser took third.
Jennifer Boss chose Kerri Walsh as her partner against Nicole Branagh and Tyra Turner in the women’s final, which continued late into the evening.