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Olympians keep their focus

Walsh, May-Treanor advance with a second-round victory at Long Beach Open.

July 26, 2008|Chris Hine | Times Staff Writer

Kerri Walsh and her partner Misty May-Treanor were ahead, 12-6, in their second game against Ashley Ivy and Heather Lowe when Walsh took a break to wipe some sand and sweat from her sunglasses.

Ivy and Lowe probably wished she hadn't.

May-Treanor and Walsh wasted little time afterward, finishing off Ivy and Lowe, 21-10, 21-12, in a 31-minute second-round match Friday at the AVP's Long Beach Open.

The pair will head to Beijing in a few weeks to try to pick up their second gold medal, but May-Treanor, a Long Beach State graduate and Costa Mesa resident, said thinking about the Olympics is on hold -- at least for now.

"If you're looking too far ahead, things pass you by," she said. "You're not guaranteed tomorrow, so we have to focus on the present and say, 'This is what we're doing now,' and everything will fall into place."

May-Treanor and Walsh, who picked up their 97th straight match victory, are one of the four Olympic teams competing in Long Beach.

The world No. 1 men's team and Beijing-bound pairing of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won both of their matches, defeating Matt Prosser and Paul Baxter, 21-14, 21-13, in the second round, then downing Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings, 21-19, 21-14. Fuerbringer and Jennings were down, 20-19, in the first game, but Jennings served it into the net, giving Rogers and Dalhausser the game.

"It was a tight first game," Dalhausser said. "We got lucky there."

Rogers and Dalhausser won the second game and earned their 35th straight match victory.

The other men's Olympic duo of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, seeded No. 3 at Long Beach, won their first match against Billy Allen and Braidy Halverson, 21-17, 21-12, but had a tougher time advancing against Ryan Mariano and Ed Ratledge.

Gibb and Rosenthal took the first game 21-14, but dropped the second game, 17-21. In the deciding point of the third game, Rosenthal made a series of diving saves and scrambled after the ball multiple times before he and Gibb organized their attack to clinch the game, 15-11.

The second women's team headed to Beijing, Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs, downed Erin Byrd and Stephanie Chapek, 21-7, 21-9, the final point coming from Youngs, who scored despite having her back to the net.

Nick Lucena and Sean Scott, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, were defeated by Dax Holdren and Will Strickland, 17-21, 21-19, 17-15, but won their two matches in the contender's bracket to stay in the hunt for the title.

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There was a dispute Friday regarding the credential status for the Beijing Games of Al Lau, beach volleyball team leader for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Ali Wood, a former AVP tour member, is the team leader for Beijing and it was unclear what role Lau would be playing.

Doug Beal, USA Volleyball chief executive, said Lau is credentialed but does not have the same level of access as Wood. However, he said USA Volleyball is working to change that.

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chris.hine@latimes.com

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