With Masakayan struggling with a knee surgery in 1995, by July Kirby was looking for a new partner. She finished the year fifth in the standings, with only three tournament wins and $32,120 in earnings. The following year proved to be even more of a disappointment for Kirby as her inability to find a good replacement for Masakayan robbed her of her longtime dream to compete in the Olympics, as the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Georgia, was the first time that beach volleyball was recognized as a medal sport. With experienced top-rated players already committed to teams, Kirby competed unsuccessfully at the Olympic trials with Lisa Arce in their first partnership. "It was a dream of mine and I felt like I failed myself, failed on my dream," she explained to Vancouver's Columbian, then added, "But, I'm stronger for it. I'm really beginning to realize how fortunate I am. I enjoy and appreciate more than ever my career."
Kirby managed three tournament wins in both 1996 and 1997, spending most of the latter year teamed with Reno. She was rejoined by Masakayan for the 1998 Goodwill Games, but the defending gold medalists finished sixth, out of the medals. By the end of the 1990s, Kirby was winding down her career. She played in several international tournaments and numerous events sponsored by the Association of Volleyball Professionals and USA Volleyball. Following the 2000 season, in which her best finish was fifth place, Kirby, who lives in San Diego, California, turned to coaching. She is on staff with Masakayan, who continued to play competitively into the 2000s.