YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections



IRVINE — There were times this weekend when Scott Fortune's legs felt as though weights were tied to them. One-hundred pound weights.

After a week of running dive drills with the U.S. national volleyball team in San Diego, Fortune and several of his practice-weary teammates came to Irvine this weekend to . . . play more volleyball.

But Fortune mustered enough energy Sunday to lead Team Op to a 15-8 victory over Team Speedo in the finals of the American Beach Volleyball League four-man tournament at Lakeshore Towers.

Fortune, captain of the U.S. team, had 10 kills and two blocks as Op won its third championship in five tournaments. Speedo won the other two stops on the five-team tour.

The victory capped a long, tiring week for Fortune and Op setter Dan Greenbaum, also a national team member.

Practice for the upcoming World League started last Monday, and a tired Op team was pounded, 15-3, by Speedo during pool play Saturday.

"We always come out flat on Saturdays," Fortune said. "Dan and I are both fighting for spots on the national team, and we've been practicing hard all week.

"My legs were so tired Saturday that I couldn't pass or jump. And it was tough to get up there on the sand. But Sunday we came out fresh."

It didn't get any easier, though.

Op had to beat Team B.U.M. Equipment, 15-11, in the losers' bracket before advancing to the finals against a well-rested Speedo team, which earned an automatic berth by going 4-0 in pool play.

Op won its first two titles by advancing through the losers' bracket. Sunday was no exception.

"It should be an advantage for the team that sits out and waits for the finals," Fortune said, "but it isn't. We seem to play better when we play a match before the finals. We make it tough on ourselves, I don't know why."

Speedo took control of the match early, grabbing a 3-0 lead, but Fortune had a kill, two blocks and an ace as Op scored seven of the next eight points.

Speedo, led by national team members Doug Partie and Allen Allen, cut its deficit to 8-7 before Op went on a 7-1 run to end the match.

Op held a 13-7 lead when Speedo's Eugene LeDuff injured his ankle while tripping on one of the net's support wires. LeDuff continued playing, but the injury slowed his mobility.

Allen had a block to make it 13-8, but Tom Duke's kill and a Speedo hitting error ended the match.

Duke had nine kills and Jeff Williams added three for Op. Greenbaum added 22 assists.

Partie's seven kills and Allen's four kills and four blocks led Speedo.

Fortune and the rest of the U.S. national team will be back in Irvine for a World League match May 17 against Japan at the Bren Center.

But first, it's back to San Diego. And back to practice today.

"It's good to come out here and play on the beach," Fortune said. "And it's always fun to come back and play in Irvine. I'm used to playing here with the World League matches."

Caren Kemner had nine kills and Teee Sanders added eight as Team Paul Mitchell defeated Team Jag, 17-15, in the women's four-man exhibition match. Kim Oden, a former Irvine High standout, had 10 kills and Westminster's Tammy Liley added three kills and a block for Jag.

Volleyball Notes

ESPN will televise the women's finals at 5:30 p.m. June 9 and the men's finals at 9:30 p.m. June 10 . . . The next stop on the 10-city tour is this weekend in Dallas. . . . Op will split $9,500 for the victory, Speedo will split $7,500.

Los Angeles Times Articles