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BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Kiraly, Steffes Rally, Win at Manhattan

August 12, 1996|IRENE GARCIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes haven't exactly been fired up since winning a gold medal in Atlanta last month, but on Sunday they were hot in the Manhattan Beach Open.

The top-seeded players won the 64-team tournament by making their way through the losers' bracket with four impressive victories in less than four hours.

In the final, Kiraly and Steffes beat the second-seeded defending champions, Jose Loiola and Adam Johnson, 15-10.

"We played with a lot of enthusiasm, which we didn't do the first two days here," said Steffes, who rushed off to play in an exhibition at the Republican National Convention in San Diego. "We knew we had to play our best volleyball to win this tournament and today we did."

Kiraly and Steffes started the day by blowing out fifth-seeded Eric Fonoimoana and Bill Boullianne, 15-0, and third-seeded Scott Ayakatubby and Brian Lewis, 15-2.

They beat Olympic silver medalists Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh, the team that had sent them to the losers' bracket on Saturday, 15-8, to earn a spot in the championship match.

Kiraly and Steffes never trailed against Johnson and Loiola. Kiraly-Steffes took an 8-1 lead and Johnson-Loiola threatened at 9-7, but Kiraly-Steffes sealed the victory with a 6-3 run.

On his team's third match point, Kiraly blocked Loiola's powerful shot at the net.

Kiraly and Steffes split $30,000. Loiola and Johnson each get $8,550.

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