For the past two years, Linda Chisholm and Jackie Silva formed a nearly unbeatable team in women's pro beach volleyball.
They're still dominating the sport, but no longer as a team.
The defending world champions will be standing on opposite sides of the net Saturday when the Huntington Beach Open begins.
The two-day tournament will feature 32 teams competing for $15,000 in prize money, equaling the largest purse in women's beach volleyball history. Games start at 9 a.m. each day at the Huntington Beach Pier with the finals scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Chisholm, U.S. Olympic silver medalist in 1984, and Silva, a two-time Olympian from Brazil, won 18 of 20 events they entered in 1987 and 1988.
The team split in January, after Silva returned from playing professional volleyball in Italy. Silva teamed with tour veteran Patty Dodd and Chisholm joined forces with Dana Point native Janice Opalinski for a tournament in Florida.
"There's no real reason for it," said Chisholm, an assistant volleyball coach at Cal State Long Beach. "I thought we would be together this year, but before (Silva) left to play in Italy she said she wanted to team with Patty. She said it was better for the (league)."
Silva and Dodd have won three of the tour's first four events, including the Long Beach Open on Memorial Day. Chisholm and Opalinski won the other tournament.
Chisholm said she's upset about the split, but doesn't carry a grudge against Silva.
"It's not so much bad blood," she said. "It's just that I'm used to winning. It's harder this year. Jackie is the top right-side player around. She's a great player. I don't think the parity in the league will change (because of the split)."
Others expected to compete include Corona del Mar's Julie Schaar, Lori Zeno of Fountain Valley and 1988 U.S. Olympians Rita Crockett, Angela Rock and Liz Masakyan.
The tournament is the fifth stop on the 14-event women's tour. It's also the second of three events in the Women's Pro Beach Volleyball Series, which includes the Long Beach Open and the Manhattan Beach Open.