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
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.
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.
"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,"
The tandem has finished third and fourth in a pair of Grand Slam
tournament events this season and won an international tournament in
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.