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Popko's team second in her beach volleyball debut

Kerry Popko, who played on the Fallbrook High School girls volleyball team prior to her 2008 graduation, made her beach volleyball tournament debut October 4 at South Mission Beach in San Diego and was on the team which took second place in the co-ed division of the Bud Light San Diego Six-Man Beachfest.

Popko, who is currently a freshman at Cal State University Long Beach, was one of two Long Beach State students on the team called Good Life.

The team consisted of seven players, although only six of those players were on the court at one time.

Four of the players attend Golden West Community College while the other is enrolled at the University of California, San Diego. Popko, who played libero, was one of two women on the team.

Popko had heard about the tournament while playing beach volleyball recreationally in Huntington Beach. She was offered a spot on the team and accepted immediately.

“I’m so glad I did it,” she said.

The tournament began with pool play. Each match consisted of two games.

If the teams split the two games there was no third tiebreaking game, and the winner of the pool was determined by the most total games won during pool play. Good Life won five of the six games to take first place in the pool.

Popko’s team, which wore bright orange to reflect a 1980s workout theme, advanced to the elimination rounds which consisted of a single game.

Good Life defeated a safety-attired team in the quarterfinals and a medically-attired team in the semifinals.

The squad’s opponent in the championship game was a team from the University of California, Irvine who were outfitted with a “Hannah Montana” theme.

The Irvine team won the division championship with a 25-23 victory over Good Life, but Popko still had the accomplishment of reaching the finals in her first tournament.

“It was way cool,” she said.

“It was a really good experience,” Popko said of her initial beach volleyball tournament. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. I wish there were more six-man co-ed tournaments.”

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