The three-ring circus that is AVP volleyball made its annual
stop on the sandy shores of Santa Barbara’s West Beach last
weekend, in the 50th local installment of the tournament. The
action was hot and heavy, despite the fact that most
matches — including the highly anticipated men’s final — were
plagued by unseasonably wet and dreary weather. Thousands of
spectators turned out to the beach and flooded local bars and
restaurants during the four-day event, which included beer gardens,
bikini-clad Cuervo girls, volleyball radar guns, copious amounts of
free sunscreen, and the live national television broadcast of both
the men’s and women’s finals. UCSB alum and former Gaucho
volleyball coach Todd Rogers (pictured left) and his partner Phil
Dalhausser (pictured right) took home top honors in the men’s
division on Sunday afternoon, earning themselves a cool $25,000
after easily dispatching John Hyden and Jeff Nygaard. The victory
was especially sweet for Rogers, as it marked his first win in
front of his hometown fans, despite his having reached the final on
five previous occasions. The competitive juggernaut of Misty May
and Kerri Walsh easily beat out Elaine Youngs and Rachel Wacholder
during Saturday afternoon’s sunshine, earning the pair the women’s
title. The win for May and Walsh — who have won the last three
Santa Barbara championships — proved to be somewhat historic as it
was their record 50th career team title. Ten Santa Barbara
residents played in the tourney, including past champion Dax
Holdren and three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly.
— Ethan Stewart


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