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Blanton, Nygaard win AVP event in Las Vegas

Laguna Beach’s Dain Blanton teamed with Jeff Nygaard of Los Angeles

last weekend to win the men’s title at the Assn. of Volleyball

Professionals Aquafina Shootout presented by Bud Light in Las Vegas.

Blanton and Nygaard, seeded seventh, defeated No. 5 seed Scott

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Ayakatubby and Brian Lewis, 21-13, 21-19 in Saturday’s final, which

was the final men’s match of the 2003 AVP Nissan Series.

Blanton finished the men’s championship match final with nine

kills, seven digs and four aces.

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The winners split a first-place prize of $30,000.

Blanton and Nygaard reached the final after defeating the No.

3-seeded team of Sean Rosenthal and Larry Witt, 21-17, 21-18, in

semifinal round action.

The victory gave Blanton and Nygaard their third title of the

current series season and back-to-back victories, as the pair won the

men’s title the previous weekend at the series’ Chicago Open

presented by Bud Light.

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“It felt awesome to end the season this way,” Blanton said.

“That’s what we’ve trained for all year, so it’s nice to end the

series on such a strong note.”

The 2003 season is the first time Blanton and Nygaard have played

as a team.

“There’s no question we’ll be back next year as teammates, too,”

Blanton said.

The tandem has finished third and fourth in a pair of Grand Slam

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tournament events this season and won an international tournament in

Greece.

Blanton and Nygaard next will play in an Olympic qualifying

tournament for the 2004 Athens Games scheduled for Sept. 19 through

21 at Home Depot Center in Carson.


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