Santa Barbara beach volleyball professional Katie Spieler made the main draw and then upset the fifth seed at the prestigious AVP Manhattan Beach Open at the courts next to the famed Manhattan Beach Pier.
Spieler, who two years ago suffered an ACL injury, combined with her cousin, Torrey Van Winden, to earn one of the eight qualifying spots on Thursday. They roared back from a lopsided first-set loss and outlasted Jacinda Ramirez and Maya-Lucia Gessner, 12-21, 21-13, 15-6, in the deciding match for a main draw berth.
Spieler/Van Winden opened against No. 5 Sarah Pavan/Geena Urango on Friday and posted another comeback victory, 17-21, 21-19, 15-6.
The pair kept rolling in the second round, beating Jessica Gaffney/Katie Horton, 21-16, 21-16 to advance in the winner’s bracket.
Also in the women’s main draw is local Carly Wopat, who is playing with Katie Lindstrom. They are the 17th seed. Wopat took a ninth place at the AVP tournament in Miami back in March. She and Lindstrom lost their first-round match.
Spieler and Wopat are both alums of Dos Pueblos.
On the men’s side, UCSB alum Theo Brunner and partner Trevor Crabb are the top-seeded team and the third seed is Dos Pueblos and SBCC alum Miles Evans and Chase Budinger.
In Thursday’s qualifier, the Santa Barbara High alumni pair of Ric Cervantes and Will Rottman were one match away from making the main draw. They lost against James Shaw/Jordan Hoppe, 21-18, 21-15.
The tournament runs through Sunday.