The beach is open |

The beach is open

Tim Mutrie
Amy Carlson, left, watches as her teammate Kris Bredehoft makes a diving dig during Women's Masters division action in the MotherLode Volleyball Classic at Koch Lumber Park in Aspen Thursday. Carlson and Bredehoft, both of Denver, finished second in the women's 35-plus class. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

The Aspen beach was in full effect yesterday, with bikinis and board shorts the attire of choice and volleyball the game.The 32nd edition of the MotherLode Volleyball Classic opened Thursday, the first of five days of pretty much nonstop volleyball action on some 80 courts in and around Aspen.Play continues through Monday for the 700 teams in the competition.In the Women’s Masters (35-plus) division, Lori Asher of Aurora and Kathy Lawless of Parker won their first title together on the sand courts at Koch Lumber Park. The Colorado duo went 5-0 on the day, winning the final 11-6 before darkness fell last night.

The No. 4 seeds, Asher and Lawless, overcame the No. 2-seeded team of Denver-area residents Amy Carlson and Kris Bredehoft for the title.The defending Women’s Masters champions, Samantha Meador of Houston and Wendy Martin of Tampa, Fla., finished third.Asher, a MotherLode rookie, won the title on her first try.”We were inspired by an 8 a.m. tee time [today],” she said. “We wanted to win without going to a double final, so we could play golf tomorrow.”

In the Men’s 50-plus Senior division, No. 2 seeds Ron Smith and Larry “Nighttrain” Sutliff, both of Denver, narrowly won the title. Smith and Sutliff defeated No. 6 seeds Pete Burton and Dave Adkins, both of Denver, 17-16.The last two years, Smith had finished second in the division; he won in 2001.Darkness postponed the scheduled final of the Men’s 45-plus Senior division. That final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. today.The featured divisions – the Men’s and Women’s Opens – open play on Saturday with elimination rounds and culminate with the final matches on Monday.

For more information, check out