Ettinger, USC to play matches at East Beach courts

Local women playing college volleyball are getting back to the sand, where many of them first picked up the game.

Eve Ettinger, a former Santa Barbara High star, will be returning to her roots at East Beach this weekend to play in the first women’s collegiate team competition in Santa Barbara. Ettinger plays on the USC sand volleyball team. The Trojans, ranked fourth in the nation, will join Fullerton College and the host SBCC club team for a tri-team match.

SBCC faces USC at 11 a.m., Fullerton takes on the Trojans at noon and SBCC and Fullerton close out the day at 1 p.m. In the dual team competition, each school will field five doubles teams that play in best-of-three matches. The team that wins three individual matches is the victor.

The SBCC doubles teams are Jenna Anderson-Madison Wadell, Rachel Bauer-Jasmine Ward, Ari Garner-Lara Bangs and Tessa Weller-Kathleen Finnerty.

Saturday will be SBCC’s second time out on the sand. It swept L.A. Pierce 5-0 in its debut.

Women’s college sand volleyball has taken off in the U.S., with several schools adding programs and on-campus facilities.

Other local women playing sand ball for their universities include sisters Caitlin and Taylor Racich (Dos Pueblos) at top-ranked Pepperdine, Katie Spieler (DP) at Hawaii, Carly Wopat (DP) at Stanford and Dani Rottman (Santa Barbara High) at Santa Clara.

Last year, Caitlin Racich helped Pepperdine win the national championship in the sport’s inaugural season. It was the school’s first national title won by women. Racich also won the individual pairs national title with partner Summer Ross.