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May Finally Has Her Day at Manhattan Beach

She fulfills a dream by winning prestigious tournament for first time as she and Walsh beat McPeak, Youngs.

August 10, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

It all came so easily for Misty May.

An NCAA championship at Long Beach State. Two state volleyball titles at Newport Harbor High. The Hermosa Beach Open title.

But May had never won the Manhattan Beach Open, the tournament she remembers attending annually as a kid, the so-called Wimbledon of the sand.

That changed Saturday.

May and Kerri Walsh defeated Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs, 21-16, 21-19, to win the Manhattan Beach Open.

May and Walsh, in their first year on the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, have won all five tournaments they've entered and are 26-0 in match play.

They have also won three of six international Olympic-qualifying tournaments, setting the stage for May to possibly add an Olympic gold medal to her resume. But that's a story for next year. Perhaps.

More immediately, May is finally champion at Manhattan Beach.

"We're part of that history now," she said.

May, 26, grew up in Santa Monica and always went to the Manhattan Beach Open, which used to be a men's-only event.

As a 10-year-old, May would nervously approach Karch Kiraly and Sinjin Smith for their autographs after a match.

The symmetry was obvious Saturday. Now May's the one signing volleyballs and posters.

May had 20 kills and 19 digs, both match-highs, against McPeak and Youngs.

"This is one of my dreams, to win here," she said. "My main goal is to win a gold medal, but this is big."

McPeak and Youngs fell to 0-5 against May and Walsh this year. The last three losses have been sweeps.

"May and Walsh are going to make us a better team," McPeak said. "We better pick up our game. We need to."

McPeak remained one tournament title short of tying Karolyn Kirby's record of 67 career victories.

*

Linda Hanley and Liz Masakayan, two of the top players in beach volleyball history, competed in the Manhattan Beach Open for the last time, finishing in a tie for seventh place.

Hanley, 43, and Masakayan, 38, will retire after the season.

Hanley is fifth in career tournament titles with 46, won over four decades. She won her first title at Hermosa Beach in 1978. Her most recent came in 2001 at Muskegon, Mich.

"I've got a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old at home. For me to have to come out and go for the jugular out here, it's tough," Hanley said. "But I couldn't have asked for anything better. People ask me what I do for a living and I told them my office is at the beach."

Masakayan, fourth in career titles with 47, was slowed in recent years by knee problems. She last won a tournament in 2001 at Santa Barbara.

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