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BEACH VOLLEYBALL : Top Teams Don’t Go Into Tank

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

The top U.S. men’s teams won all their matches Friday at the Federation Internationale De Volleyball Championships in Hermosa Beach, but purposely losing was not a far-fetched idea for some players.

“Sure, it was a consideration to tank the match,” said Mike Dodd, who along with partner Mike Whitmarsh is ranked No. 1 in the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour.

Dodd, and many other top-ranked American players, would rather be in New Jersey for an AVP event, but were coerced by the international governing body of volleyball to participate in the Hermosa Beach tournament because it’s part of an Olympic qualifying series.

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Up until Thursday night, Dodd said, he and his partner had considered losing in Hermosa Beach so they could go to New Jersey. After all, by making the main draw of the FIVB event they earned the five points required to qualify for next year’s Olympic trials.

Instead, Dodd and Whitmarsh cruised Friday. They beat Germans Jorg Ahmann and Axel Hager, 15-2, in the morning, and Canadians John Child and Mark Heese, 15-4, in the afternoon.

The U.S. team of Karch Kiraly and Scott Ayakatubby, ranked No. 2 in the AVP, also won twice.

Five U.S. teams made it through the winners’ bracket of the 24-team women’s tournament. Top-seeded Karolyn Kirby and Liz Masakayan defeated Italians Ana Maria Solazzi and Consuelo Turetta, 15-5, and will play Americans Holly McPeak and Nancy Reno today at 9 a.m. McPeak-Reno defeated Australians Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, 15-2.

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