Rachel Scott digs a ball in tournament action from Hermosa Beach. (Peter Brouillet)

Rachel Scott digs a ball in tournament action from Hermosa Beach. (Peter Brouillet)

When the AVP NIVEA Tour Huntington Beach Open, presented by Bud Light Lime, hits the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier this weekend, a well-known name will be back in the fold.

Rachel Scott (formerly Wacholder), who missed last year's open because of the birth of her first child, has returned to title contention and is teamed with her former partner Elaine Youngs.

The Laguna Beach High product is excited about returning full-time to the tour.

"I'm happy to be back," Scott said Tuesday. "I feel I've gotten in better shape and getting back to my old form. That wasn't the case last year. I tried to come back on the tour, but it was way too soon after having Koa."

Koa" is the son she and her husband, AVP player Sean Scott, welcomed into the world in the spring of 2009. Less than five months later, Scott returned Aug. 6 to play in last few months of the 2009 tour season.

During that short stint she was paired with U.S. Olympian Kerri Walsh, whom Scott said was "like a sister," and the bond became stronger due to the fact that Walsh was also a recent first-time mom.

Playing together in those final four tour events, the two finished fifth in their first tournament, the Hermosa Beach Open last August, and had a top finish of third.

"Kerri is one of my best friends in the world and I loved playing with her," said Scott, who is a few weeks shy of 35. "Our sons were born seven weeks apart. But for me, it was just too soon to come back. I had a C-section and a rough pregnancy. I came back, but I wasn't even cleared by my doctor to exercise. I wanted to play, do it with Kerri because I thought it would be a great memory. It was, but it was really rough.

"I couldn't jump. I couldn't move. When I'd push off, I'd get sharp pains in my pelvis and groin. It was really rough on my body. But now, I feel like I'm getting there, back in form. In practice, I feel really good."

Scott has eight career wins between the AVP and FIBV. Two of those wins came with Walsh in 2004, the next five when she was partnered with Youngs (2005-06), and her last win came two years ago with Tyra Turner

Scott's best years, earnings-wise, were 2005 through 2007.

She has one Huntington Beach Open title on her résumé, which she won with Youngs in 2005.

On the current tour, Scott and Youngs have finished third and fifth in the first two AVP events (Fort Lauderdale and Santa Barbara) of the 2010 season.

The Huntington Beach Open is the first AVP tournament in a month.

The four-day event began Thursday with men's and women's Open Qualifier competition. The men's and women's Main Draw starts at 9 a.m. today and runs until 6 p.m., continues from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and again at 8:45 a.m. Sunday. The women's final is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by the men's final at 1 p.m.

Scott said that Koa, now 14 months, will be in attendance at the Huntington Beach Open.

"It will be great to have him there," she said. "I'll have my family there to watch him.

"This is the happiest I've been in my life. I love being a mom and I have a great husband. This (beach volleyball) is our job and now we're working to balance it with having a child. We've made some adjustments, but they've been worthwhile adjustments.

"I want to have another (child), so I'll reassess things after this season is over. But right now, life is good."

Schedule Of Events

Today 8 a.m. — Gates open

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Men's and women's Main Draw

Saturday 9:30 a.m. — Gates open

10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. — Men's and women's Main Draw

Sunday 7:45 a.m. — Gates open

8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Men's and women's Main Draw

11 a.m. — Women's Final

1 p.m. — Men's Final