Elite handball players hit Fountain Valley

Some of the top players from across the nation and world will be in Fountain Valley for the Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball Naty Alvarado Handball Classic.

The 23rd annual event starts Thursday and runs daily through Sunday at Los Caballeros Sports Village (17272 Newhope Street, Fountain Valley).

Naty Alvarado Sr., the tournament's director and the top-winning handball player of all time, said the event has expanded.

The tournament will offer more than $120,000 in cash awards.

"We are very, very excited for this year's tournament," Alvarado said. "Six years ago, Bruce FaBrizio (founder of Simple Green) had a vision of putting on the best handball tournament in the world. We have professional and amateur players competing, and this seems to be adding up to our best tournament ever."

Alvarado said that 273 players are entered in the tournament. The tournament will feature the top male and female players of the United States Handball Assn., and World Players of Handball.

Players will compete in four-, three- or one-wall events during the tournament.

The winner of the men's open four-wall singles tournament will receive a $10,000 and the title of U.S. Open Champion.

"We're calling it the "Festival of Handball'," Alvarado said. "We added the one-wall this year, which will be exciting. It (one-wall is an event that is typically found on the East Coast and dominated by New Yorkers. It will be exciting to see which players come out as champions."

The Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball Naty Alvarado Handball Classic will be webcast live via the World Professionals of Handball League website (www.race4eight.com).

— Mike Sciacca

Fopma/Sweat, Brunner/Lucena take AVP titles

In the final pro beach volleyball tournament of the 2013 Assn. of Volleyball Professionals seven-stop tour, the team of Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat won the women's title, and the team of Theodore Brunner and Nick Lucena took the men's title Sunday at the AVP Championships at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

Fopma and Sweat, the No. 4-seeded women's team, recorded their first AVP victory by defeating No. 3 seeds Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar in the women's final, 21-19, 15-21, 15-9. Fendrick and Hochevar advanced to the women's final by upsetting top seeds Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, 21-15, 21-17, in Sunday's semifinals.

The men's final also was a No. 3 vs. No. 4 match.

Brunner and Lucena, the No. 4-seeded team on the men's side, rallied past No. 3 seeds Tri Bourne and John Hyden, 23-21, 7-21, 15-13. It was Brunner's first AVP victory. Lucena gained his first AVP win since 2010 and his third, overall.

Brunner and Lucena reached the final by getting past top seeds Casey Patterson (Huntington Beach) and Jake Gibb in Sunday's semifinals. Patterson and Gibb had won the previous four AVP men's titles on the current tour.

The seven-stop 2013 AVP tour started Aug. 16 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

— Mike Sciacca

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