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Santa Barbara Open Volleyball Tournaments Draw High-Caliber Teams

Jace Pardon, left, and Brittany Tiegs are back to defend their title at the Santa Barbara Women’s Open on Sunday. Click to view larger
Jace Pardon, left, and Brittany Tiegs are back to defend their title at the Santa Barbara Women’s Open on Sunday. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk file photo)

The fields for the California Beach Volleyball Association Santa Barbara Men’s and Women’s Opens this weekend are loaded with top teams.

The men’s tournament starts the busy weekend of high-caliber volleyball on Saturday morning at courts set up in front of the iconic East Beach Bath House. The women play on Sunday. 

The tournament's are part of the 80th Semana Nautica summer sports festival and the AVP Next Series. The prize money for each tournament is $1500.

Nine of the CBVA’s top-10 players in the “AAA” division rankings (the highest level for amateur players) are competing in Santa Barbara. The top team is Michael Boag (Lake Forest) and Jorge Martinez (Torrance), who individually are ranked second and third, respectively. Boag, has played in 15 AVP events since 2013. On the CBVA circuit this year, he’s earned five top-five finishes in opens, with his best being a second at Belmont Shore. He is playing with Martinez for the first time this season after six top three finishes together last year, including a title at Zuma Beach. 

Martinez was the CBVA’s top-ranked AAA player last year and qualified for the Manhattan Open with Boag.

The combo of Mike Stewart (Irvine) and Santa Barbara’s Ric Cervantes are fourth and fifth in the “AAA” rankings. They’ve played in six tournaments this season, with their best finish a second at the AVP Next event in Hermosa Beach in late May.

The other teams with top-10 players are No. 6 Branden Clemens (San Diego) and No. 8 Benjamin Vaught (Huntington Beach); No. 7 Chicory Roth (Santa Cruz) and No. 10 Jacob Landel (Santa Cruz); No. 9 Ozz Borges (Hermosa Beach) and Nathan Yang (Hermosa Beach). Former UCSB player Jake Rosener  (Hermosa Beach) is No. 12 and playing with Garrett Wessberg of Redondo Beach. 

The leading local teams in the field include Matt Jones-Shane Cervantes, and Dillan Bennett-Jeff Menzel.

Sunday’s women’s tournament has a powerhouse field of teams, led by defending champions Jace Pardon and Brittany Tiegs. They’ve been playing on the AVP Tour but with different partners. Tiegs earned seventh-place finishes in Seattle and Austin with Sheila Shaw, while Pardon got a seventh in Huntington Beach with Alex Klineman.

Local player Katie Spieler is a two-time champion of the tournament, winning in 2014-15 with her cousin Tori Van Winden. She is playing this year with former Stanford star Karissa Cook, a finalist last year. Spieler and Cook have played in three AVP events together, with a best finish of 13th at Austin.

Another strong team is Abril Bustamente of NCAA-champion USC and Pepperdine star Skylar Caputo, who is coming off a third-place finish at the AVP event in Seattle with Canada’s Sarah Pavan.

Pepperdine teammates Maddy Roh and Corinne Quiggle figure to be in the hunt to make the final.

The field also includes the veteran local team of Patti Cook and Dana Kabashima, finalists in 2015; USC-bound Sammy Slater of Ventura and Haley Hallgren; Laguna Blanca standout and USC commit Laurel Kujan and Kyla Doig; TCU signee Hannah Rogers of Solvang, the daughter of Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Todd Rogers, and her partner Victoria McDonald.

The tournament format is pool play, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the single-elimination playoffs. The championship match will be best of three sets.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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