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SPORTS BRIEFS : Trip to Dentist in Italy Was Nothing to Laugh About

August 05, 1993

Gail Castro's memories of Italy go beyond her professional volleyball career.

After suffering from a toothache, she decided to visit a dentist, who advised that Castro have a root canal.

She agreed, only to learn that the procedure would be performed without anesthesia.

"The dentist had a cigarette in his mouth and he was in my face with that cigarette," Castro said. "Then about seven nurses grabbed me to hold me down and he started drilling. I couldn't move. It was the most pain I have ever felt."

The serious tone used in recalling the incident is unlike Castro, an All-Southern California Athletic Assn. middle blocker at Cal State Long Beach in 1978-79. She is usually easygoing and a volleyball court jester.

This weekend, Castro and partner Elaine Roque will compete in the U.S. Open tournament in Long Beach. The event starts at 9 a.m. Saturday on The Promenade in downtown Long Beach.

It will be the first Women's Professional Volleyball Assn. tournament played in a shoreline city but not at the beach. As is done in landlocked sites, sand will be trucked in to create the courts.

Castro and Roque are seeded third in the 32-team field.

The 5-foot-11 Castro, a 35-year-old mother, is one of the most physically fit players on the WPVA tour.

Hitting and jump-serving have become Castro's forte. She ranks second in the WPVA with 59 aces.

"Gail was on a roll with her serve in Ohio," said Liz Masakayan, who plays with Karolyn Kirby to form the WPVA's top-ranked team. "She was giving us some tough serves and we couldn't get a pass."

Castro and Roque have reached the final of five tournaments this year, and each time they lost to Kirby and Masakayan, winners of 10 of 11 events.

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Double Winner--Ichiban, a Long Beach-based volleyball club for girls, won titles in two categories at the recent Junior Olympics in Kansas City.

The team swept to a 12-0 record to take the 18-and-under division. Outside hitter Terri Cox from St. Anthony High was named the tournament's most valuable player. Middle blocker Heather Lowe of Cypress High was voted All-American.

In the 16-and-under division, Ichiban went 11-1, losing only to a team from Michigan. Setter Jolynn Faatulu, a Poly High sophomore, was MVP of the division. All-American honors went to outside hitter Heidi Ilustre, a freshman at St. Anthony, and Robyn Lewis, a right-side player from John Marshall Middle School in Long Beach. The teams were coached by Roger Goodwin and Art Garcia.

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Baseball Champs--The Pico Rivera Royals, composed of 15-year-old boys, have won the Continental Amateur Baseball Assn. state title and earned the right to play in the CABA World Series in Illinois today through Aug. 15.

The Royals are from the Rivera Baseball Assn. and play out of Rivera Park. The manager is Joe Gonzalez and the coaches are Leo Rodriguez and Ron Laos.

The team is seeking funds to cover travel expenses, Gonzalez said. Information: (310) 949-5632.

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Swim Speedsters--Two youth swimmers turned in outstanding recent performances.

Alain Peauroi, 14, placed eighth in the 1993 United States Postal Swim, covering 3,000 yards in 37:52.16. A resident of Whittier, he swims for the aquatic team at Smith Park in Pico Rivera.

Tiffany Ikeda, 6, set nine team records for the Lakewood Aquatics Club this season. She attends Lindstrom Elementary School.

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Soccer Farm System--The Montebello-based L.A. Salsa plans to create a series of elite youth soccer teams that will play in private club tournaments.

The Salsa will begin this fall with a club team for boys under 19, General Manager Rick Davis said.

Within two years, the Salsa hopes to expand down to the under-14 level for boys and girls. Davis said the program is intended to "enhance skills and perhaps develop future professional players from within our own communities."

The Salsa, meanwhile, is playing this weekend at Montreal and Toronto. Their next home game is against the Colorado Foxes in an American Professional Soccer League match at 4:05 p.m. Aug. 15 at Cal State Fullerton. L.A. (10-4) beat Colorado, 2-1, Sunday and is in third place in the league.

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Coach Honored--Ken Lindgren, coach at Cal State Long Beach, has been honored with the United States Water Polo Award for outstanding contributions to the sport.

The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. Water Polo Federation, which runs the National Team.

Lindgren will enter his 19th season at Long Beach this fall. He was an assistant coach on the 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams.

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Ocean Ski Race--The annual Catalina Ski Race, a round-trip race from Long Beach to Avalon, is scheduled for Sunday. It begins at 8 a.m. with more than 100 water skiers leaving the start line next to the Queen Mary. Spectators can view the start and finish from areas at the Travelodge Hotel. There is no charge for admission. Information: (714) 894-3498.

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Girls Softball--Several Southeast-area teams will play in the 31st Bobby Sox Softball National Tournament of Champions at Bellis Park in Buena Park from Friday through Aug. 12.

A total of 72 teams from Hawaii, California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah are entered in three divisions.

Teams from Bellflower, Cerritos and La Mirada will compete in the Bobby Sox Division for girls 11 and younger. Bellflower has a team in the American Girls Division (14 and younger) and two teams from Cerritos have qualified in the Prep Division (18 and younger).

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