Laguna Open returns to Main Beach

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Some of the best beach volleyball players in the country will meet on the Main Beach sand for the 68th annual Laguna Open tournament this weekend. The event, which has the unique distinction of being the oldest beach volleyball tournament in the world, starts Friday, Oct. 13 and runs through Sunday.

Pro beach volleyball returns to Main Beach this weekend as the Laguna Open takes the stage for the 68th year. File photo

Marty Suan, who co-directs the Laguna Open with Patrick Canavan, said the tournament has been raised to a tier three event on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Pro Beach Volleyball Tour calendar. The boost means increased status, points, and prize money for both men and women’s categories.

“The AVP schedule has a great field in the men’s and women’s tournaments, so the quality of play will be really high,” Suan said. “It’s a treat to watch some of the best players in the country play each other in Laguna. Quite often, we have to go to Los Angeles for that. This will be a good quality event.”

Because of the increase in status this year, the Laguna Open has attracted notable names, such as number one seed Seain Cook and his partner, Cody Caldwell. The pair recently took third place at the highly competitive AVP Chicago Open in early September.

Laguna Niguel’s Chase Frishman is also slated to compete.

“He’s a crowd favorite,” Suan said.

In the women’s category, players to watch include Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn-Murphy, who have had a strong year on the AVP circuit and overseas competition.

San Clemente’s Abby Van Winkle, who just graduated from UCLA as a two-time national champion, will compete, as will Laguna Beach High School volleyball star Kyra Zaengle. Zaengle was recently recruited to USC.

The competition begins Friday with a single elimination qualifier at 7:30 a.m. and will conclude around 5 p.m. Four teams from each gender will progress.

“We have a waiting list because our number of courts limits our capacity,” Suan said. “We have 36 teams per gender who will participate. That’s 12 teams that will automatically go through to the main draw for each gender, and 24 teams will play in the qualification event on Friday.”

On Saturday, the tournament starts at 7:30 a.m. again, with 16 teams from each gender playing a modified pool play.

The women’s quarterfinals start at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The women’s final will begin around noon, and the men’s final will follow at 1 p.m.

Sideout, a volleyball clothing brand, will sponsor the tournament wrap party on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Willbo in North Laguna.

The event is free.

More information about the event can be found at www.avp.com/event/tour-series-laguna-beach-open.

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