BEACH VOLLEYBALL : Two Early Birds Overcome Morning Blahs, Bag Title


Karolyn Kirby and Liz Masakayan said it was tough getting up at 5:30 a.m. to play in an 8 a.m. winners’ bracket final at the $40,000 World Championships in Manhattan Beach on Sunday.

Things got off to a bad start, they said, because their nearby hotel didn’t serve breakfast at 6:30 a.m. as promised and the Jacuzzi, which they use to loosen up before competing, was out of order.

And the rough morning took a toll on Kirby-Masakayan, the tournament’s top-seeded team and defending champion. Both women got off to a slow start before finally pulling out a 15-9 victory over third-seeded Dennie Knoop and Deb Richardson in the early morning.

The 11 a.m. final, however, was a different story. Kirby and Masakayan came out firing and easily defeated second-seeded Barbra Fontana and Lori Kotas, 15-4.


“That was pathetic,” Kotas said. “We played not to lose and that’s the type of team you can’t do that against. They kind of ran us over.”

Kirby and Masakayan have a 25-4 record against Fontana and Kotas, including a 9-1 mark this season. They have teamed up to win 11 of 12 events on this year’s Women’s Professional Volleyball Assn. tour and will split $9,400 for Sunday’s victory. Fontana-Kotas will divide $7,000.

In the final, Kirby and Masakayan jumped out to a 4-1 lead, then at 8-3 scored five unanswered points for a 13-3 edge.

Masakayan, a former UCLA All-American who played on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team, was unstoppable. She had an array of spectacular blocks and powerful kills at the net. She also served for nine of her team’s points and played flawless defense. Kirby served for her team’s last two points, the final one an ace down the line.