Claes and Hughes Capture Queen of the Beach Crown

    USC's sophomore duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes has won 12 straight matches.

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    March 21, 2015

    HONOLULU - USC women's sand volleyball sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes claimed the 2015 Queen of the Beach Championship at the T.C. Ching Complex on Saturday, March 21. Claes was also honored with the tournament's Best Offense award. The duo won their 12th straight match together and have dropped just one set during that run. It is the second tournament title for Claes and Hughes, who also claimed the crown at the USC Tournament a week ago.

    After they won their pool with two straight-set victories yesterday, Claes and Hughes were inserted into the gold bracket and faced Sammie Brown and Hannah Rooks of Hawai'i in the quarterfinals. The Trojans produced a 21-18, 21-19 win to move into the semifinals where they had to go head-to-head with teammates Sophie Bukovec and Alexa Strange. Claes and Hughes prevailed with a 21-16, 21-14 win and eventually took out the Rainbow Wahine's Katie Spieler and Olivia Urban in the final, 21-19, 21-13.

    Bukovec and Strange also won their pool and were pitted against the Trojan duo of sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler in the gold quarters. Bukovec and Strange won that matchup, 21-13, 21-18, before they fell to Claes and Hughes in the semifinals. The Women of Troy had a fourth pair in the gold quarterfinals. Seniors Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton faced Spieler and Urban in the quarters and fell, 21-16, 21-19.

    The Trojans had three other pairs in the silver bracket championship. Freshmen Lorna Brandt and Jo Kremer came up with a three-set win, 21-17, 15-21, 15-11, over Nebraska's Melanie Keil and Amber Rolfzen in the quarterfinals. Freshman Jenna Belton and senior Bria Russ defeated the Huskers' Annika Albrecht and Cecilia Hall, 21-16, 21-19, in their quarterfinal matchup. The two USC tandems faced off in the semifinals where Belton and Russ won, 21-6, 21-10.

    USC's third pair of freshmen Olivia Asprey and Marielle Bagnard was eliminated in the silver quarterfinals, 21-9, 21-14, by the bracket's eventual champion Alicia Ostrander and Justine Wong-Orantes of Nebraska. Ostrander and Wong-Orantes defeated Belton and Russ, 21-18, 21-17, in the final. USC didn't field a pair in the bronze bracket.

    The Women of Troy will return to Southern California and prepare to face defending AVCA champion Pepperdine in a 2 p.m. PT match on Tuesday, March 24. The Trojans and Waves will meet in a live broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks with Holly McPeak and Anne Marie Anderson on the call.

    For more information on the USC sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Queen's Beach Sandbox | Honolulu, Hawai'i
    Hosted by University of Hawai'i
    Saturday, March 21, 2015

    Best Offense: Kelly Claes (USC)
    Best Defense: Alexa Ethridge (NEB)
    Best Blocker: Heather Boyan (UH)
    Aloha Spirit: Sammy Furlan (CAL)/Kaiwi Schucht (UH)*
    * Due to an injury to Furlan's partner, UH's Schucht played with her during pool play on Friday.

    Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Sammie Brown/Hannah Rooks (UH); 21-18, 21-19
    Nikki Taylor/Brittany Tiegs (UH) def. Kelly Hunter/Kadie Rolfzen (NEB); 21-11, 21-11
    Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC); 21-13, 21-18
    Katie Spieler/Olivia Urban (UH) def. Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC); 21-16, 21-19

    Katie Spieler/Olivia Urban (UH) def. Nikki Taylor/Brittany Tiegs (UH); 28-26, 21-16
    Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC); 21-16, 21-14

    Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Katie Spieler/Olivia Urban (UH); 21-19, 21-13

    Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) Annika Albrecht/Cecilia Hall (NEB); 21-16, 21-19
    London Chow/Hannah Zalopany (UH) def. Alexa Keil/Kira Larsen (NEB); 21-10, 18-21, 15-8
    Lorna Brandt/Jo Kremer (USC) def. Melanie Keil/Amber Roflzen (NEB); 21-17, 15-21, 15-11
    Alicia Ostrander/Justine Wong-Orantes (NEB) def. Olivia Asprey/Marielle Bagnard (USC); 21-9, 21-14

    Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. Lorna Brandt/Jo Kremer (USC); 21-6, 21-10
    Alicia Ostrander/Justine Wong-Orantes (NEB) def. London Chow/Hannah Zalopany (UH); 21-15, 19-21, 15-10

    Alicia Ostrander/Justine Wong-Orantes (NEB) def. Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC); 21-18, 21-17

    Sarah Cole/Emily Lunt (CAL) def. Mackenzie Feldman/Sammy Furlan (CAL); 21-9, 21-17
    Bryce Bark/Emily Shults (CAL) def. Sabrina Blackwell/Teya Neff (CAL); 21-13, 21-12
    Gianna Guinasso/Sydney Shinn (UH) def. Ashley Johnson/Katie Regalia (CAL); 21-11, 21-19
    Heather Boyan/Lara Schreiber (UH) def. Inanna Eshoo/Allison Leong (CAL); 21-11, 21-19

    Heather Boyan/Lara Schreiber (UH) def. Bryce Bark/Emily Shults (CAL); 21-13, 21-13
    Sarah Cole/Emily Lunt (CAL) def. Gianna Guinasso/Sydney Shinn (UH); no scores

    Lara Schreiber/Heather Boyan (UH) def. Sarah Cole/Emily Lunt (CAL); 21-15, 18-21, 15-10