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Buckner Helps Team Net a Beach Tournament Title

Volleyball: She has 18 kills as Paul Mitchell wins pro event in Huntington Beach.


HUNTINGTON BEACH — They call her "Netty," and the nets seemed to know who she was Saturday.

Annett "Netty" Buckner had 18 kills to lead Team Paul Mitchell to a 15-11 victory over Team Discus Athletic in the women's final of the Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball League tournament.

Buckner, a former UCLA All-American, nicked the end line with the winning spike to give Paul Mitchell its first tournament title of the season. Paul Mitchell has placed second three times and third twice this season.

"We hadn't gone over that hump yet as far as winning [a title]," Buckner said. "It was time to do it."

Buckner had four consecutive kills to give Paul Mitchell a 4-0 lead in the final.

"That really helped our energy level," she said.

Discus Athletic came back to tie it, 6-6, and again, 9-9, before Buckner had two more kills to give Paul Mitchell a two-point lead, 11-9.

Discus Athletic tied it again, 11-11, on two ace serves by captain Stephanie Cox, but Buckner had a kill for a sideout then served an ace. Paul Mitchell got another point after Alyson Randick hit one into the net and Paul Mitchell's Diane Shoemaker had a kill to bring up game point.

"After those two aces, I really thought they were going to crack and then we made some really crucial errors," said Cox, formerly of Mission Viejo High. "You can't really blame it on the errors at the end, but those are the ones you remember."

Paul Mitchell and Sony Autosound both were 3-1 after pool play concluded Saturday morning, but Paul Mitchell earned a spot in the final based on its point differential and Sony Autosound was forced to play in the semifinal game.

Discus Athletic and Norelco both were 2-2 after pool play but Discus Athletic advanced to the semifinal because of its point differential. Sony Autosound was tired in the semifinal because it had played two pool-play games earlier in the morning.

"You don't like to say that it was, [but] it was hard for us," said Sony Autosound captain Kim Oden, a former Irvine High player.

Katy Eldridge and Randick had nine and eight kills, respectively, and Randick had two blocks to lead Discus Athletic to a 15-8 semifinal victory over Sony Autosound.

Gabrielle Reece's Team Nike didn't win a game in pool play after shuffling its lineup last week, when it dropped setter Liane Sato and added rookie back row specialist Katie Haller, formerly of USC. Oden picked up Sato for Sony Autosound.

"Liane's a really intense player and. . . it works better on a team like Sony with more mature players," Reece said.

Oden, who played with Sato on the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams, said she enjoys the spark Sato provides on the court.

"It's so nice to have her back on this team. Defensively, you're never out of the game," Oden said.

Sato had a tournament-high 71 digs, including nine in the semifinal.

"There's a lot more volleyball experience [on Sony Autosound]," Sato said. "They like to win and they know how."

In men's pool play, Team OP defeated Sony Autosound, 11-10, as time expired, Paul Mitchell defeated Outdoor Products, 12-10, and OP defeated Outdoor Products, 15-12.

Men's pool play continues today beginning at 9 a.m. and the final will be at 3 p.m.

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