In only their third professional tournament together, Meg Chetwood and Tiffany Marinos held off a comeback attempt by Elisa Rodriquez and Lia Jackson, two members of the Costa Rican national team who train in Manhattan Beach, to win the 39th Women’s Laguna Open 25-22 at Main Beach on Saturday, May 9. They took home $500 dollars each for their efforts.
The $1,500 in total prize money was the most in nearly two decades for the women’s event, the result of a fifth court being added, which enabled tournament director Kirk Morgan to expanded the field to 25 teams, with each putting up a $75 entry fee. The 60th Men’s Laguna Open on June 6-7 will feature a total purse of $5,000.
Chetwood, a Dallas native, played libero for Texas Women’s University before moving to San Diego two years ago to pursue her passion for beach volleyball. “The difference on the beach is you have to be able to do all the skills,” she said of what drew her to the sand.
A California native and San Marcos resident, Marinos was the setter, captain and MVP of Fresno Pacific University’s 2009 undefeated NAIA Indoor Volleyball National Champions, the team’s third straight title. She finished her collegiate career with a 146-4 record.
The two teamed up for the first time last October at the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour stop in Cincinnati, finishing 17th, the best for either woman on the pro circuit before their victory at the Laguna Open. They followed that Ohio stop with a trip to Thailand last August for the International Pattaya Tournament. “We’ve got really great chemistry,” said Chetwood.
The new duo hopes to ride that chemistry this season on the AVP tour. They entered the Laguna Open, which is part of the California Beach Volleyball Association tour, as a warm up for the AVP stop in New Orleans next week. “Laguna always draws top players,” said Marinos. “We wanted some good reps before we went out.”
Of the 50 players, 26 had AAA CBVA ratings, the association’s highest based on a point accrual system. Another 14 had AA ratings in one of the strongest and deepest Open fields in recent memory.
Two of those AAA players, Camie Manwill of Salt Lake City and Kat Wanket of Dave Canyon, Calif., finished third, losing to the Costa Ricans in the semifinals. It was their first Laguna Open and only their second tournament together since a 2012 National Volleyball League Tour Qualifier in Santa Monica.
The long time friends met playing beach volleyball, and Laguna is one of the first places they played and still their favorite. “It brings our relationship even closer when we’re playing together,” said Manwill.
Julie Consani of Newport Beach and Laurel Weaver of Winnetka, also with AAA ratings, won a share of third place, losing the other semifinals match to Chetwood and Marinos.
For complete tournament results, visit www.cbva.com.