Rutledge-DiCello roll to SB Open women’s title; Cook-Kabashima take 3rd


San Diego?s Lisa Rutledge and Kim DiCello captured the title, but the local team of Patti Cook and Dana Kabashima took the honor of playing ? and winning ? the most matches Saturday at the Santa Barbara Open women?s beach volleyball tournament at East Beach.

Kim DiCello - CBVA Santa Barbara

Kim DiCello, pictured, and partner Lisa Rutledgewon Saturday’s Santa Barbara title. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Rutledge, a veteran professional player who?s played on the domestic AVP Tour and the FIVB international circuit, and DiCello breezed through the competition undefeated on a sand socks-wearing day to win their second tournament together The top-seeded team defeated No. 2 Caitlin Ledoux and Stevi Robinson in the final, 21-16, 21-17.

Cook-Kabashima rebounded from a second-round loss and gutted out six wins in the contender?s bracket to finish in third place in the California Beach Volleyball Association event. Their amazing ? and exhausting ? run was stopped by LeDoux and Robinson, 21-19, 21-18.

Among the teams the 14th-seeded Cook-Kabashima knocked out during their run to the tournament semifinals were locals Sammie Brown-Emily Rottman, Sara Hughes-Kelly Claes (who knocked them into the contender?s bracket) and Briana Hinga-Jaimi Gregory. They needed three sets to get past Hinga-Gregory.

?We tried to be gritty,? Cook, the volleyball coach at Westmont College, said with a smile.

“I’m really pleased with the finish since we aren’t training regularly,” Cook added. “We actually don’t get to play on the same side that often because there aren’t that many big girls in Santa Barbara, so we’re usually playing against each other.”

Rutledge-DiCello were dominant throughout the one-day, double-elimination tournament. Both players were strong blockers, good defenders and sided out with consistency.

Patti Cook - CBVA Santa Barbara

Local player Patti Cook, who coaches at Westmont College.

?This is our third tournament together and I think everything just clicked and came together,? Rutledge said. ?KIm played amazing defense and put balls away. It was fun.?

Said DiCello: ?It was great. We?re a new team, so it was really fun to see a lot the things we?ve been working on come together today. There was a lot of really of great teams in this event, so it was fun to compete aginst those teams and play at a high level. Lisa did amazing, blocked a ton of balls, did a great job at the net.?

With more than two hours of rest after taking the winner?s bracket, Rutledge-DiCello were fresh and fired up for the final. They took control early in each set and held off LeDoux-Robinson.

Brown and Rottman, who are home for the summer before entering the senior years at Notre Dame and Virginia, respectively, finished in seventh place, and local player Katie Spieler and her partner Julia Chamberlin finished ninth.

The men?s open is scheduled for Sunday in front of the the East Beach Bath House. Will Montgomery and Avery Drost are the top seeded team.

The volleyball tournaments are the opening events of the Semana Nautica summer sports festival.