No. 1 USC Takes Out Lions and Dons to Close Home Season

    Sara Hughes teamed with Kelly Claes to win a pair of three-set matches today.

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    April 9, 2015

    LOS ANGELES - The top-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team (17-0) continued to roll as the Women of Troy claimed wins over Loyola Marymount (2-9) and San Francisco (8-6) at Merle Norman Stadium on Thursday, April 9. The Trojans knocked off the Lions, 4-1, and then swept the Dons, 5-0.

    USC honored its senior class of Eve Ettinger, Meg Norton, Bria Russ, Alexa Stonish, and Emily Young in pre-match ceremonies. Ettinger is the first four-year letterwinner in the program's brief history.

    Against LMU, freshman Jenna Belton and Russ teamed up to post a 21-11, 21-11 win over Kristen Castellanos and Taylor Scioscia on court five for the first point of the day. Sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler dropped a three-set heartbreaker, 21-18, 16-21, 15-12, to Rachelle Suaava and Hannah Tedrow as the Lions evened the dual score.

    USC went ahead, 2-1, with a win at court three where Ettinger and Norton put away Avery Bush and Anne Marie Taylor, 21-15, 21-9. The Trojans clinched the dual from court two when sophomore Sophie Bukovec and junior Alexa Strange claimed a 21-17, 27-25 win over Taylor Akana and Litara Keil. It took three sets, but sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes finished off the 4-1 win with a 21-16, 18-21, 15-8 victory over Betsi Metter and Sarah Sponcil.

    In its first-ever meeting with the Dons, USC went up, 1-0, when Belton and Martin took a 21-10, 21-9 win against Katarina Pilepic and Emily Reed at court four. Russ and Stonish paired to produce a 25-23, 21-14 win over Jessica Keenan and Anja Segota on court five to push the Trojans ahead, 2-0.

    Ettinger and Norton secured the clinching point on a 21-10, 21-13 win over Kiara McKibben and Oluoma Okaro on court three. Bukovec and Strange added a fourth point on their 21-18, 21-11 win over Jessica Gaffney and Sara Staengle on court two, and Claes and Hughes went the three-set distance to beat Courtney Sabahi and Valentina Zaloznik, 18-21, 21-18, 15-8, for the 5-0 sweep.

    In non-scoring matches, freshmen Marielle Bagnard and Lorna Brandt defeated LMU's Lindsay Carr and Nicky Kevorken, 21-11, 21-11; and freshman Jo Kremer and Young teamed to take out Carr and Kevorken, 21-14. 21-9.

    Up next for USC, the Trojans take part in the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge at Hermosa Beach Pier in Hermosa Beach, Calif., on Saturday and Sunday (April 11-12). On Saturday, USC faces Santa Clara at 10 a.m. PT and Boise State at noon in dual matches. Silver and Bronze pairs brackets begin play at 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, Gold, Silver, and Bronze pairs brackets will play to produce individual champions.

    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 4, Loyola Marymount 1
    Merle Norman Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
    Thursday, April 9, 2015
    Records: USC (16-0), Loyola Marymount (2-9)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Betsi Metter/Sarah Sponcil (LMU); 21-16, 18-21, 15-8
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Taylor Akana/Litara Keil (LMU); 21-17, 27-25
    3. Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC) def. Avery Bush/Anne Marie Taylor (LMU); 21-15, 21-9
    4. Rachelle Suaava/Hannah Tedrow (LMU) def. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC); 21-18, 16-21, 15-12
    5. Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. Kristen Castellanos/Taylor Scioscia (LMU); 21-11, 21-11
    Order of finish: 5, 4, 3, 2*, 1
    6. Marielle Bagnard/Lorna Brandt (USC) def. Lindsay Carr/Nicky Kevorken (LMU); 21-11, 21-11
    7. Jo Kremer/Emily Young (USC) def. Lindsay Carr/Nicky Kevorken (LMU); 21-14, 21-9

    No. 1 USC 5, San Francisco 0
    Merle Norman Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
    Thursday, April 9, 2015
    Records: USC (17-0), San Francisco (8-6)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Courtney Sabahi/Valentina Zaloznik (USF); 18-21, 21-18, 15-8
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Jessica Gaffney/Sara Staengle (USF); 21-18, 21-11
    3. Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC) def. Kiara McKibben/Oluoma Okaro (USF); 21-10, 21-13
    4. Jenna Belton/Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Katarina Pilepic/Emily Reed (USF); 21-10, 21-9
    5. Bria Russ/Alexa Stonish (USC) def. Jessica Keenan/Anja Segota (USF); 25-23, 21-14
    Order of finish: 4, 5, 3*, 2, 1