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Friendly call helps U.S. beach volleyball men to win

    United States' Jacob Gibb, left, goes after the ball as Sean Rosenthal looks on during a beach volleyball match against Latvia's Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012.

LONDON >> To be honest, Todd Rogers said, he thought his hit that helped put the Americans one point away from victory was illegal, too.

Rogers took a spike off the chest and then popped it up into the air for teammate Phil Dalhausser, who passed it back for Rogers to clear out. Whether that should count as three hits or four — one too many — depends on whom you ask, but in the referee’s opinion it was a legal hit that gave the Americans a 14-12 lead.

“I told (the referee) I thought it was a double-hit,” Rogers said after holding on to win 19-21, 21-16, 15-13 and remain unbeaten in the preliminary round of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament. “He said it was all one motion. … It’s a judgment call.”

Beach volleyball teams have three hits to get the ball back over the net. The referee told Rogers that the ball bounced off Rogers’ chest and his wrist in one motion, not two, and as such only counted as one hit.

But Spain’s Pablo Herrera vociferously disagreed, arguing with referee Marc Berard of France until he was given a yellow card, and then continuing to argue. (A second yellow card would have cost them a point — in this case, match point.)

The Spaniards won the next point when Herrera crossed his shot in front of Dalhausser’s attempted block, but Rogers found an unoccupied part of the court on the next point for the clincher.

Rogers went over to Berard after the match and asked about the call, telling the official he thought he had committed a violation; the referee held his ground. Herrera also went back over to the referee, and not quite as politely, berating him on the court until Berard walked off with the other officials.

“I spoke with him why he did not call that,” Herrera said. “I thought it was four hits.”

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