No. 2 USC Sand Volleyball Knocks Off No. 3 Hawaii and Arizona

    USC sophomore Alexa Strange teamed with freshman Kelly Claes to clinch winning points in each of USC's duals

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    March 19, 2014

    HONOLULU - The second-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team (6-1) kicked off its trip to the islands with a pair of victories at the Queen's Beach Sandbox on Wednesday, March 19. The Women of Troy took a 4-1 win over first-year program and fellow Pac-12 foe Arizona (5-2) in their morning dual and then fought off third-ranked host Hawaii (6-2) for a 3-2 victory in the early afternoon.

    In their first meeting with the Wildcats, the Trojans earned straight-set victories on all but one court. At the top court, USC's tandem of senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes got things started when they picked up a 21-16, 21-15 win over Jane Croson and Madi Kingdon. Senior Brooke Fournier and freshman Nicolette Martin wiped out Allie Cook and Penina Snuka, 21-11, 21-7, at court five to give USC a 2-0 lead in the match.

    The Trojans clinched the dual at court two where freshman Kelly Claes and sophomore Alexa Strange knocked off sisters Madison and McKenna Witt, 21-15, 21-14. Trojan seniors Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic teamed up at court three to beat Taylor Arizobal and Ronni Lewis, 21-17, 21-17, for the Trojans' fourth point of the day. In the only match to go three sets, Arizona's Rachel Rhoades and Sarah Seiber upended USC juniors Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ, 21-12, 13-21, 15-7, for the Wildcats' only point.

    In a much tighter match against the Wahine, USC started out with a win at court five where Fournier and Martin collected a 21-18, 21-13 win over Karlee Riggs and Hannah Rooks. Ettinger and Russ took a 21-17 win in their first over London Chow and Olivia Urban but needed to go extra points to claim a 25-23 win and nab USC's second point of the dual.

    At the top court, Burnham and Hughes took a 21-18 win over Karissa Cook and Brittany Tiegs in the first set, but allowed the Wahine to even the score with a 24-22 win in the second. In a down-to-the wire finish, Cook and Tiegs secured a 15-12 win to put Hawaii on the board. At court three, Hirschmann and Siljkovic fought tooth and nail but came up short against Ginger Long and Ali Longo, who posted a 22-20, 25-23 win to help the Wahine even the dual at two-all.

    In what started out as a one-sided match, Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor made short work of Claes and Strange at court two with a 21-9 win in the first set. The Trojan tandem fought on to come up with a 21-19 win in the second set before closing out the Wahine with a 15-13 win in the third set that clinched a 3-2 dual victory for the Women of Troy.

    USC is back in action against No. 8 Nebraska (0-0) in a 12 p.m. HT match on Thursday, March 20. Queen's Beach will host the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Spring Challenge on Friday (March 21) and Saturday (March 22). Pairs will play out of pools in Friday matches before the top 16 teams are selected to play in Saturday's 16-team single-elimination bracket. A second silver bracket will also be played among the next eight best teams. For more information and results, please visit For a complete USC schedule and results, please visit

    No. 2 USC 4, Arizona 1
    Queen’s Beach Sandbox | Honolulu, Hawai’i
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    Records: USC (5-1), Arizona (5-2)
    1. Kirby Burnham/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Jane Croson/Madi Kingdon (ARIZ); 21-16, 21-15
    2. Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Madison Witt/McKenna Witt (ARIZ); 21-15, 21-14
    3. Sam Hirschmann/Natasa Siljkovic (USC) def. Taylor Arizobal/Ronni Lewis (ARIZ); 21-17, 21-17
    4. Rachel Rhoades/Sarah Seiber (ARIZ) def. Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ (USC); 21-12, 13-21, 15-7
    5. Brooke Fournier/Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Allie Cook/Penina Snuka (ARIZ); 21-11, 21-7
    Order of finish: 1, 5, 2*, 3, 4

    No. 2 USC 3, No. 3 Hawaii 2
    Queen’s Beach Sandbox | Honolulu, Hawai’i
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    Records: USC (6-1), Hawaii (6-2)
    1. Brittany Tiegs/Karissa Cook (UH) def. Kirby Burnham/Sara Hughes (USC); 21-18, 22-24, 15-12
    2. Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Katie Spieler/Nikki Taylor (UH); 9-21, 21-19, 15-13
    3. Ali Longo/Ginger Long (UH) def. Sam Hirschmann/Natasa Siljkovic (USC); 22-20, 25-23
    4. Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ (USC) def. London Chow/Olivia Urban (UH); 21-17, 25-23
    5. Brooke Fournier/Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Hannah Rooks/Karlee Riggs (UH); 21-18, 21-13
    Order of finish: 5, 4, 1, 3, 2*