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Hermosa event features locals

Their 2009 seasons on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Tour have been very different.

Rachel Wacholder is just beginning hers, while Laguna Beach resident Whitney Pavlik has been playing for months.

But both Wacholder, who graduated from Laguna Beach High in 1993, and Pavlik will be at the AVP Hermosa Beach Open this weekend.

Wacholder, 34, is playing in her first tournament of the year after having baby Koa in April. The six-time winner on the tour doesn’t have a bad partner "” it’s Kerri Walsh, two-time Olympic gold medalist and part of the most successful women’s partnership in AVP history with Misty May-Treanor. Walsh is also making her season debut after having a child.

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How the pair will perform is an interesting story-line for the tournament. They’re seeded third, behind top-seeded Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs, as well as second-seeded April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.

Branagh and Youngs have won six of nine tournaments this year.

Pavlik, 25, is again teamed with partner Stacy Rouwenhorst. They’re seeded 13th and will likely be looking to improve on that seeding when it’s all said and done. Their best finish on the tour this year is seventh.

The tournament is the last Southern California stop for the AVP this season. Main draw play begins at 9 a.m. today and women’s play continues until the women’s final at 1 p.m. Saturday. The men’s final is also at 1 p.m., on Sunday.

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All Friday tickets are $5. In Hermosa Beach, only Stadium Court and Courts 1 and 2 are ticketed, available for $5-35 throughout the weekend. Every other court is free and open to the public.

For those who can’t make it out, the women’s final and men’s final will be shown live on NBC on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.



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