No. 1 USC Tops Lions to Open USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge

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    April 8, 2017

    MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- The top-ranked USC beach volleyball team (23-0) posted a 4-1 win over Loyola Marymount (8-10) to open the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday, April 8. It was the first of three duals in the one-day challenge tournament. The Women of Troy stayed undefeated and won their 53rd straight dual; and the victory USC's 17th all-time against long-time local rival LMU.

    Seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes scored the first dual point for USC with a 21-17, 21-13 win over Savannah Slattery and Sarah Sponcil. For Claes and Hughes, it was their 102nd consecutive win. At the fourth position, juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer fought back from down, 20-17, in the first set to punch up a 22-20, 21-14 win over Emma Doud and Veronica Nederend for the second USC point of the dual. Belton-Kremer reached 25 wins on the season and won their fifth straight match.

    While courts one and four were done in straight sets, the other three courts each went to third frames. The clinching point came from USC's second pair as junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin finished up a 21-14, 18-21, 15-12 win over Sara Kovac and Jessie Prichard. It was the duo's sixth straight win together.

    LMU scored its only point at court five as Kristen Castellanos and Erin Williams pulled out a three-set win over sophomore Katrina Kernochan and freshman Lainy Thomas. The Trojans fought and got a 25-23 win in the first set, but dropped a 21-12 decision in the second and ultimately fell, 15-12, in the third. At court three, freshman Joy Dennis and senior Allie Wheeler posted their seventh win without a loss on a 21-15, 15-21, 15-12 decision over Brittnay Estes and Kekai Whitford.

    The Women of Troy are back in action at 11:45 a.m. PT against No. 15 Arizona State (9-12). The Trojans wrap the five-match weekend with a 3:30 p.m. meeting against Saint Mary's College (14-4). For more information and updated scores, please visit TeamUSA.org.

    For more information on the two-time national champion USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.

    No. 1 USC def. Loyola Marymount, 4-1
    USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge
    Manhattan Beach Pier | Manhattan Beach, Calif.
    Saturday, April 8, 2017
    Records: USC (23-0), Loyola Marymount (8-10)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Savannah Slattery/Sarah Sponcil (LMU); 21-17, 21-13
    2. Terese Cannon/Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Sara Kovac/Jessie Prichard (LMU); 21-14, 18-21, 15-12
    3. Joy Dennis/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Brittnay Estes/Kekai Whitford (LMU); 21-15, 15-21, 15-12
    4. Jenna Belton/Jo Kremer (USC) def. Emma Doud/Veronica Nederend (LMU); 22-20, 21-14
    5. Kristen Castellanos/Erin Williams (LMU) def. Katrina Kernochan/Lainy Thomas (USC); 23-25, 21-12, 15-12
    Order of finish: 1, 4, 2*, 5, 3