No. 2 USC Tops CSUN But Falls to No. 1 Pepperdine at Zuma Beach

    Freshman Sara Hughes put her first two collegiate matches in the books on Saturday.

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    March 8, 2014

    MALIBU, Calif. - The second-ranked USC sand volleyball team (1-1) had an up and down opening day to 2014. Playing on the sand at Zuma Beach, the Women of Troy knocked off Cal State Northridge (0-3) in a sweep of all five courts, but turned around to face No. 1 Pepperdine (2-0) and were swept, 5-0, in return on Saturday, March 8.

    The Trojans handed the Matadors a third straight loss to open their inaugural season with convincing straight-set victories on each court. At the top, senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes took out Natalie Allen and Mahina Haina, 21-11, 21-11. One court over, freshman Kelly Claes and sophomore Alexa Strange completed a 21-11, 21-17 win against Marissa Boyd and Casey Hinger.

    On court three, USC seniors Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic were suffocating as they toppled Brooke Dawson and Sam Kaul, 21-6, 21-7. Junior Eve Ettinger and senior Brooke Fournier teamed on court four for a 21-5, 21-8 win over Kelcie Randazzo and Stephanie Serna and junior Bria Russ and freshman Allie Wheeler picked up a 21-12, 21-17 victory against Julie Haake and Steffi Miller for the five-court sweep.

    With a couple of changes to the bottom of the lineup, the Waves took the first point in the dual from court four where Emily Cook and Katie Messing defeated Fournier and Russ, 21-13, 21-11. At the top court, Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow toppled Burnham and Hughes, 21-17, 21-14, to give Pepperdine a 2-0. The Waves clinched the match at court two where Kelley Larsen and Delaney Knudsen recorded a 21-18, 21-15 win over Claes and Strange. It was Pepperdine's 36th victory against just one defeat in its all-time program history and the Waves' sixth straight win against USC.

    With the dual decided, the Waves added another point from court three where sisters Caitlin and Taylor Racich beat Hirschmann and Siljkovic, 21-16, 21-15. In the only match to go three sets, Pepperdine's Victoria Adelhelm and Sophie Asprey came back from losing their first set to defeat USC's freshman tandem of Nicolette Martin and Wheeler, 15-21, 21-16, 17-15, at court five.

    The Trojans are back in action on Thursday, March 13, as hosts of Bakersfield (1-1) at 4 p.m. PT at Merle Norman Stadium. USC then hosts No. 4 Florida State and LMU on Friday (March 14) for a set of four matches including a nightcap between No. 6 UCLA and FSU played at USC. On Saturday, March 15, Merle Norman Stadium will host a pair's tournament with teams from USC, FSU, LMU, and UCLA, beginning at 9 a.m. PT. Please visit for more information and a complete schedule.

    No. 2 USC 5, Cal State Northridge 0
    Zuma Beach | Malibu, Calif.
    Saturday, March 8, 2014
    Records: USC (1-0), CSUN (0-3)
    1. Burnham/Hughes (USC) def. Allen/Haina (CSUN); 21-11, 21-11
    2. Claes/Strange (USC) def. Boyd/Hinger (CSUN); 21-11, 21-17
    3. Hirschmann/Siljkovic (USC) def. Dawson/Kaul (CSUN); 21-6, 21-7
    4. Ettinger/Fournier (USC) def. Randazzo/Serna (CSUN); 21-5, 21-8
    5. Russ/Wheeler (USC) def. Haake/Miler (CSUN); 21-12, 21-17
    Order of finish: Not available

    No. 1 Pepperdine 5, No. 2 USC 0
    Zuma Beach | Malibu, Calif.
    Saturday, March 8, 2014
    Records: USC (1-1), Pepperdine (2-0)
    1. Dykstra/Strehlow (PEP) def. Burnham/Hughes (USC); 21-17, 21-14
    2. Knudsen/Larsen (PEP) def. Claes/Strange (USC); 21-18, 21-15
    3. C. Racich/T. Racich (PEP) def. Hirschmann/Siljkovic (USC); 21-16, 21-15
    4. Cook/Messing (PEP) def. Fournier/Russ (USC); 21-13, 21-11
    5. Adelhelm/Asprey (PEP) def. Martin/Wheeler (USC); 15-21, 21-16, 17-15
    Order of Finish: 4, 1, 2*, 3, 5