Qualifying Begins at U.S. Open Beach

Sept. 27, 2008, 11:27 p.m. (ET)

Media Contact: Tip Nunn

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2008) – The draws for the elite Open Divisions at the 2008 U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, presented by Corona Extra, were finalized following a day of qualifying matches Friday at East Beach.

Four women’s teams and 13 men’s teams rounded out the draws for the top players in the tournament. The main draw for the men’s Open Division will include 32 teams and 16 teams are set to compete in the women’s Open Division.

Now in its second year, the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, presented by Corona Extra is being held in Santa Barbara for the first time. The event is sanctioned by USA Volleyball.

Play in all divisions, except the coed divisions, will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. The men’s and women’s Open Divisions will play the semifinal rounds and the championship matches on Sunday. The women’s final is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday and will be followed by the men’s championship at approximately 2 p.m. Coed division teams will play on Sunday, with the coed Open Division championship match set for approximately 3 p.m. U.S. Open champions will be crowned Saturday in all of the amateur divisions. 

Leading the women’s Open Division qualifiers in Friday’s action were the defending women’s champions Pat Keller and Belinda Roche. Other teams qualifying Friday include Mackenzie Brook and Amber Martin; Alicia Zamparelli and Gretchen Duffner; and Elena Salvador and Jennifer Corral.

In the men’s Open Division, Friday’s qualifiers into the main draw include Yariv Lerner and Simon Eckback; Art Barron and Hylis Smith; Shane Cervantes and Kanani Leite-ahaya; Jeremie Simpkins and Anthony Mihalic; and the team of Mike Morrison and Aaron Wachtfogel.

Other men’s teams reaching the main draw are Wojciech Podwojcik and Wojciech Plinski; Derek Sorensen and Travis Schoonover; Russ Marchewka and Casey Patterson; Alejandro Parra and Aaron Mansfield; Lucas Wisniakowski and Erik Gomez; Billy Allen and Braidy Halverson; Avery Drost and Taylor Vandergrift; and the team of Eric Olson and Taylor Rietz.

More than 500 beach volleyball players from around the nation will compete in this weekend’s U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, presented by Corona Extra. Teams have qualified to compete through one of 24 different qualifier events held across the nation. Competition will be held in the following divisions:

  • Men’s Open, AA, A, BB, B
  • Women’s Open, AA, A, B
  • Men’s and Women’s Masters (37 and over)
  • Men’s and Women’s Masters (45 and over)
  • Co-ed Open, A, B (two-person teams)

In addition to Corona Extra, other sponsors of this year’s U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball are Oakley, Spalding, Paul Mitchell and Jones Trading, who will sponsor the Masters Divisions.

For more information on the 2008 U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball, presented by Corona Extra, please visit www.usopenbeachvolleyball.com.