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Wacholder, Turner work for AVP tour

In just the third weekend of the 2007 Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Crocs tour schedule, Rachel Wacholder can see progress being made.

The Laguna Beach native, who now calls Redondo Beach home, is in her seventh season on the AVP circuit and she has entered this year with a new playing partner, Tyra Turner of Florida.

The two will play together in tournament action today and throughout the weekend at the Huntington Beach Open at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

In two previous AVP tournaments of the current season, Wacholder and Turner finished fifth in Miami (April 13-15) and lost in the semifinal round in Dallas (May 19-22).

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Since the start of the 2005 season, Wacholder has become a force on the AVP women’s tour, having made 17 championship appearances in tournament play which is the third-most of any player.

She has finished the last two seasons as the third-ranked women’s player.

“It’s been good so far,” Wacholder said of her new partnership with Turner. “We definitely have a lot of potential and we’ve been getting better with each tournament.

“Tyra’s a great girl and a hard-worker.”

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The Huntington Beach Open affords Wacholder the chance to play an AVP tournament as close to her former hometown as possible. Fellow Laguna Beach High alum Dain Blanton will play on the men’s side of the tournament.

Last year, Wacholder and then-partner Elaine Youngs finished runner-up to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh at the open.

Two years ago, the pair swept May-Treanor and Walsh to win the open in a thrilling victory played out before her family and some friends.

After stops in both Miami and Dallas, the Huntington Beach Open will be the first tournament played on a beach.

Wacholder and Turner are seeded third in the tournament.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said of the tournament which culminates Sunday with the men’s and women’s finals. “It’s so nice to be playing so close to home where family can come watch us play, and I get to show them off. Just the familiarity of playing in Huntington is nice.”

Last summer, history was made on the final day of the Huntington Beach Open when May-Treanor became just the second player to join the women’s $1-million club in beach volleyball earnings with the win in last year’s women’s final.

This weekend, history will be set yet again, but in a different manner.

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The Huntington Beach Open is the third and final leg, following Miami and Dallas, of the Cuervo Gold Crown series. A part of this year’s AVP season, the series’ prize is an additional $100,000 bonus given to the top men’s and women’s teams who accumulate the most points in the three tournaments and is in addition to the money won at the three individual tournaments.

The Cuervo Gold Crown champion men’s and women’s teams will be awarded their hefty paychecks at the conclusion of the Huntington Beach Open on Sunday.

“It’s monumental for us, historic,” Leonard Armato, commissioner of the AVP said, of paychecks that will be the largest winners’ checks ever presented by the AVP. “One men’s team and one women’s team will be the recipients of a very big payday Sunday.”

Top professional beach volleyball athletes on the men’s side included in this year’s open are Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser, Stein Metzger, Mike Lambert and beach volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. The women’s side includes Wacholder and Turner, May-Treanor and Walsh, Youngs and Holly McPeak.

Kiraly, who has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season, won his last tournament title at the Huntington Beach Open in 2005.

The Huntington Beach Open, which began Thursday, continues today, Saturday and Sunday with main draw competition, leading up to Sunday’s finals.

The men’s final is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. with the women’s final to follow 30 minutes following the completion of the men’s final.

This year’s AVP tour is composed of 18 stops nationwide. Cities new to hosting tournaments on this year’s tour are Dallas, Charleston, S.C., Louisville, Ky., Glendale, Ariz., Boston and San Francisco.

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The Schedule

TODAY

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition

Gates: open 9 a.m.

Competition: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (approx.)

SATURDAY

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition

Gates: open 9 a.m.

Competition: 9:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. (approx.)

SUNDAY

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition

Gates: open 9:15 a.m.

Competition: begins at 9:45 a.m.

Men’s final: 2:30 p.m.

Women’s final: 30 minutes after conclusion of men’s final

Ticket Information (Friday through Sunday)

General admission: $20/day

Courtside seating: $40/day

Student/Youth*: $10/day

(*must be 18 or under with valid school ID)

Group prices also available. For tickets go to www.avp.com.


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