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Winners crowned in 67th annual Laguna Open

Silila Tucker kills a ball into the outside corner during the men's final of the Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament.
Silila Tucker kills a ball into the outside corner for a point during the men’s final of the Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament at Main Beach on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The main draw of the 67th annual Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament took place over the weekend, with four rounds of action on the sand on Main Beach.

Sixteen men’s and women’s teams battled to stake their claim to a grand total of $24,000 in prize money (split evenly between the two genders), which tournament officials said represented a 30% increase in the purse.

Troy Field runs down a deep ball to keep a long rally alive during the men's final of the Laguna Open on Sunday.
Troy Field runs down a deep ball to keep a long rally alive during the men’s final of the Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament at Main Beach on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The men’s title was won by Andy Benesh and Silila Tucker, while the women’s championship went to the pairing of Molly Turner and Carly Skjodt.

Paul Lotman and Troy Field were the other finalists on the men’s side. Kelly Reeves and Delaney Mewhirter were the runner-up duo in the women’s competition.

Kelly Reeves hits a kill as Carly Skjodt tries to block her during the women's final of the Laguna Open on Sunday.
Kelly Reeves hits a kill as Carly Skjodt tries to block her during the women’s final of the Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament at Main Beach on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Tournament director Kirk Morgan said there were 80 men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams that competed over the course of the three-day event. In addition to cash prizes, competitors also vied for wildcard entries into an AVP tournament in Huntington Beach.

Legends of the sport graced the announcer’s booth, including Laguna Beach hometown favorite Dain Blanton, an Olympic gold medalist. Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos and Dane Selznick were also on the call for the tournament.

The event also brought back “Battle of the Beaches,” a competition featuring contestants from four Laguna Beach beaches known for their volleyball: Emerald Bay, Main, Three Arch Bay and Victoria.

Champions Molly Turner and Carly Skjodt, embrace Kelly Reeves and Delaney Mewhirter, from left, after the women's final.
Champions Molly Turner and Carly Skjodt, embrace with Kelly Reeves and Delaney Mewhirter, from left, after the women’s final of the Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament at Main Beach on Sunday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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