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For Top Two Teams, Some Tough Times

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Parity on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Tour became obvious Saturday as the top-two seeded teams were upset, sending them into the consolation bracket of the $50,000 AVP Open at Seal Beach.

The top-seeded team of Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson, winners of three AVP titles this season, were stunned in the semifinals, 15-7, by Jose Liola and Emanuel Rego.

Liola and Rego, seeded third and playing together in only their fourth tournament, were flawless early on and took a 12-0 lead.

Kiraly and Johnson went on to outscore Liola and Rego, 7-3, but it was too little, too late.

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“Jose and Emanuel played as well as I’ve ever seen them play,” Kiraly said. “They played out of their minds.”

Liola and Rego, from Brazil, recently joined forces in hopes of competing in the 2000 Olympics.

Johnson and Kiraly will face Anjinho Bacil and Stein Metzger at 9 a.m. today in the first of four matches they will need to win to claim the title. The other upset on center court came at the hands of unseeded Mark Kerins and Canyon Ceman, who knocked off second-seeded Mike Whitmarsh and Kent Steffes, 14-10.

Whitmarsh and Steffes, who won the Chicago Open last weekend, were unable to get anything going as Ceman and Kerins opened a 12-4 lead.

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Whitmarsh and Steffes were later eliminated, losing to Roberto Lopes and Franco Neto, 15-13, in the losers’ bracket.


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