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Champions Match Lit by Headlights

Huntington Beach’s Marc Spitaleri

Huntington Beach’s Marc Spitaleri

Main Beach’s boardwalk was packed with people watching the 58th annual Men’s Laguna Beach Open Volleyball tournament, won by Santa Barbara’s Will Montgomery and Aiea’s Tri Bourne last Saturday.

With 48 players competing in 24 teams, games lined the boardwalk from the playground to the historic north court.

“ I knew we’d get a lot of turnout with the good weather, but I didn’t expect that many!” organizer Kirk Morgan said.

The day’s biggest challenge was running a double elimination “match play” tournament in a single day, he said.  With double elimination, every team must lose two matches before a champion is declared.

“These are great players and they’re used to a long, slow warm-up, so my team and I were challenged to keep the tournament running on schedule.”

The last serve came at 8 p.m. with the lights from the cars on Coast Highway helping to light the court, said Morgan, who envisions a bigger Open next year with a $10,000 cash prize.

Costa Mesa’s Daniel App

Costa Mesa’s Daniel App

Competitors included 10 of the top 20 rated “AAA” players in the California Beach Volleyball Association’s rankings.  First place took home $500, trophies and other prizes.

Morgan drew on local sponsors and volunteers, including John Rodriguez, who lined up AVP beach refs; Smack Sportswear, which outfitted the crew; Mike Finn, who ran sound system; Landi Morgan, Wendy Potter, Franky Anthony and past champion Mike Garcia. Brian Wisely of Laguna Beach’s Well Fitness kicked in prize money. City staff included Kristin Buhagiar, Ben Siegel, lifeguard Captain Tom Trager and John O’Hara.

 San Diego’s Alejandro Parra

San Diego’s Alejandro Parra

Photos by Brian Guth

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