5th-seeded men a hit at 'beach'

June 27, 1994|By Lori Van Lonkhuyzen | Lori Van Lonkhuyzen,Sun Staff Writer

Music blasted from a nearby radio, bathing suits and bare feet weaved their way through the crowd and a light breeze wafted off the water, carrying the scent of suntan oil over the visitors who gathered yesterday at Baltimore's newest and closest beach.

Sunbathers leaned back, dug their feet in the sand and suddenly remembered where they were. Only inches below the sand was the hard pavement of Harborview Marina and Yacht Club, the almost unrecognizable site for the AVP Nestea Open volleyball championship.

Harborview received a make-over of more than 900 tons of sand to showcase the first AVP event in Baltimore. And volleyball fans from as far away as northern Pennsylvania and New York showed up to be a part of the pomp that surrounds an AVP tour event.

Fifth-seeded Scott Ayakatubby and Eric Fonoimoana put on a show for the fans and shocked a few competitors by going undefeated through the winner's bracket and beating second-seeded Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh, 15-10, in the final.

The win was the first for either this year and the first ever for Fonoimoana. Ayakatubby earned his fourth career victory in his first match since missing 10 tour events this year because of a groin muscle injury. His leg required icing afterward, but Ayakatubby wasn't bothered by it through the game.

"It held up fine, it felt really good," Ayakatubby said. "I had tape the whole time, and it was no problem. I was a little worried about my conditioning because I haven't played at this level in 10 weeks. But luckily it wasn't that hot, so I did all right."

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," Fonoimoana said. "This feels good for how hard I worked to get to this spot, to finally pull it off. You never really expect to do it, just things sort of fall into place."

Fonoimoana's serves were lethal yesterday. In the turning point of the match, Fonoimoana served four times, and the duo stretched a 7-6 lead to 10-6, a margin Whitmarsh and Dodd could not close.

Zel,2 Whitmarsh and Dodd did close to 12-10, but Fonoimoana and Ayakatubby won the final three points on two line shots and a block by Fonoimoana that bounced off Whitmarsh and dropped.

In women's play, after losing their first-round match, third-seeded Linda Chisholm and Linda Hanley won four consolation-bracket matches to advance to the final against unbeaten and top-seeded Nancy Reno and Angela Rock.

Chisholm and Hanley battled to a 15-11 win to force a seven-point, five-minute maximum playoff. There, they cruised, 7-1, for their first win of the year.

"That first round was really tough on us," Hanley said. "It was just really humid on Friday and that stifled our play. We were able to, Friday night, to concentrate on coming all the way through the loser's bracket. We're just trying to steady out and make sure we get to the show and when we get there, close the deal. We finally did it."

Hanley's bullet-like shots and Chisholm's serves helped them step out to a 6-0 lead and nearly complete the shutout in the extra game, but Rock's ace late in the match broke her team's scoring drought. Finally, on the fifth match point, Chisholm deposited the ball deep just out of Rock and Reno's reach, for the win.

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