No. 1 Trojans Crash No. 3 Waves For 3-2 Win at Zuma Beach

    Sophomore Sara Hughes teamed with Kelly Claes to deliver USC's clinching point in a win over Pepperdine.

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    April 4, 2015

    MALIBU, Calif. - The top-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team (15-0) maintained its unblemished dual record with a 3-2 victory over No. 3 Pepperdine (7-4) at Zuma Beach on Saturday, April 4. The win marks the first time that any team has ever defeated the Waves in a dual at Zuma in four seasons. The Trojans have now won three of their last four meetings against Pepperdine and improve to 3-7 in the all-time series.

    Just as things went in the season's first meeting between these two teams, USC's pairs at four and five struck first to score a 2-0 lead for the Trojans. At No. 5, freshman Jenna Belton and senior Bria Russ took out Katie Messing and Corinne Quiggle, 21-17, 21-19. On court four, sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler dropped a 21-17 decision in their first set with Sophie Asprey and Taylor Racich, but responded to win in three, 21-18, 15-13.

    In a tight race to the finish, all three top courts concluded within minutes of each other. The Waves got on the board from court two where Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow completed a 21-18, 21-12 win over USC's team of sophomore Sophie Bukovec and junior Alexa Strange. The score was evened, just briefly, following a 21-15, 21-15 Pepperdine win at court three where Emily Cook and Delaney Knudsen took out seniors Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton.

    In a flurry of a finish, the Trojans' top tandem of sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes sealed the dual with their point on court one with a 21-15, 21-14 win over Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever. The victory avenged the duo's loss in a head-to-head dual earlier this season. In a non-scoring match, freshmen Olivia Asprey and Jo Kremer defeated Samantha Cash and Leanna Schroeder, 21-19, 21-16.

    Next, the Women of Troy will wrap the regular-season home schedule with a pair of duals on Thursday, April 9, at Merle Norman Stadium. USC and Loyola Marymount will meet for the third time this season in a dual set to begin at 2:30 p.m. PT. Then, the Trojans will host San Francisco at 4 p.m. in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Both duals will air live on the Pac-12 Networks with Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the call.

    USC will celebrate its senior class prior to the start of the LMU match on Thursday (April 9). Seniors Eve Ettinger, Bria Russ, Alexa Stonish, and Emily Young, and graduate student-athlete Meg Norton will be honored in pre-match ceremonies set for approximately 2 p.m. PT.

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

    No. 1 USC 3, No. 3 Pepperdine 2
    Zuma Beach | Malibu, Calif.
    Saturday, April 4, 2015
    Records: Pepperdine (7-4), USC (15-0)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Kelley Larsen/Kellie Woolever (PEP); 21-15, 21-14
    2. Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow (PEP) def. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC); 21-18, 21-12
    3. Emily Cook/Delaney Knudsen (PEP) def. Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC); 21-15, 21-15
    4. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Sophie Asprey/Taylor Racich (PEP); 17-21, 21-18, 15-13
    5. Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. Katie Messing/Corinne Quiggle (PEP); 21-17, 21-19
    Order of finish: 5, 4, 2, 3, 1*
    6. Olivia Asprey/Jo Kremer (USC) def. Samantha Cash/Leanna Schroeder (PEP); 21-19, 21-16