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BEACH VOLLEYBALL : Steffes, Kiraly Advance at Manhattan Beach


Although Kent Steffes and Karch Kiraly are still the hottest team on the beach at the Manhattan Beach Open, Brent Frohoff and Mike Whitmarsh are closing in.

Fifth-seeded Frohoff and Whitmarsh made it to the winners' bracket semifinals with a 15-0 victory over fourth-seeded Mike Dodd and Tim Hovland on Saturday at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The game might have been closer, but Dodd played the final seven points with a strained groin.

The way Frohoff and Whitmarsh were playing, it probably wouldn't have made much difference if Dodd had stayed healthy.

"We were siding out well, playing defense well," Frohoff said. "We're definitely on top of our game right now,"

They need to be, because their next game is against the top-seeded team of Steffes and Kiraly, who have won the last seven tournaments on the pro volleyball tour.

The other semifinal will match No. 6 Brian Lewis and Craig Moothart, who beat No. 3 Adam Johnson and Ricci Luyties, 15-10, against No. 10 Bruk Vandeweghe and Dan Vrebalovich, who upset No. 2 Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos, 15-8.

Play will begin at 9 a.m. today for the semifinal matches in the winners' bracket and 8 a.m for the losers' bracket. The championship game is about 5 p.m.

Kiraly and Steffes, who haven't lost a game since May 31, got a scare Saturday, winning, 15-9, against unseeded amateurs David Swatik and Canyon Ceman.

Ceman and Swatik, natives of Manhattan Beach, were helped by the support of the fans, Swatik said. They battled Kiraly and Steffes to an 8-8 tie, punctuating their points and side outs with emotional displays that further excited the crowd.

But Kiraly and Steffes proved too strong for Ceman and Swatik, who play for Stanford and UCLA, respectively.

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