Trojan Pairs Victorious at USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge

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    April 12, 2015

    HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. - USC sand volleyball sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes claimed the gold-bracket crown at the 2015 USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge on the sands of the Hermosa Beach Pier on Sunday, April 12. The Women of Troy also produced the winners of the bronze bracket as sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler seized the title there.

    Junior Alexa Strange and sophomore Sophie Bukovec took second in the silver pairs' bracket. Seniors Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton advanced to the silver quarterfinals while the Trojans' pair of freshman Jenna Belton and senior Bria Russ went as far as the bronze semifinals. Sophomore Paige Hines and freshman Jo Kremer teamed to win a pair of matches and advanced to the copper bracket's final match.

    As the top seed in the gold bracket, Claes and Hughes breezed through their quarterfinal with a 21-9, 21-12 win over Casey Hinger and Kelcie Randazzo of CSUN. The pair then ran into a familiar foe: Loyola Marymount's Betsi Metter and Sarah Sponcil. It took three sets, but Claes and Hughes prevailed, 21-11, 18-21, 15-12, in the semifinal. The Trojan duo had an easier time in the final and earned a 21-13, 21-14 win over Pepperdine's Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow. It is the third tournament crown for Claes and Hughes this season. The pair also won the USC Tournament (March 14) and claimed the title at the Queen of the Beach Challenge in Hawai'i (March 21).

    Bukovec and Strange were the top seed in the silver bracket and defeated Avery Bush and Anne Marie Taylor of LMU, 21-12, 21-13, in the round of 16. They then took out Sarah Baugh and Sierra Nobley of Boise State, 21-13, 22-20, in the quarterfinals. The two Trojans needed three sets to defeat Long Beach State's tandem of Anete Brinke and Tyler Jackson in the semifinal, 21-14, 14-21, 15-12, but fell in straight sets, 21-12, 21-12, to Pepperdine's Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever in the bracket's final match.

    Ettinger and Norton earned a three-set win over Taylor Akana and Litara Keil in the silver round of 16, 21-16, 16-21, 15-5, but were defeated by Larsen and Woolever, 23-21, 21-11, in the quarterfinals.

    Martin and Wheeler dropped just one set in their conquest of the bronze bracket. In the round of 16, the tandem defeated Jaymee-Lee Bulda and Maddi Osburn of Boise State, 21-11, 21-17. They then walked through Katarina Pilepic and Emily Reed of San Francisco, 21-6, 21-11, in the quarters. In a tight battle, Martin and Wheeler took out Pepperdine's Taylor Racich and Corinne Quiggle, 21-19, 21-17, in the semifinals, and then came through with a 15-21, 21-18, 15-12 win over the second-seeded team of Ka'iwi Schucht and Mikayla Tucker of Hawai'i in the title match.

    Belton and Russ were seeded 11th, but upset the sixth-seeded team of Rachelle Suaava and Hannah Tedrow of LMU, 21-12, 21-12, in the round of 16. Belton and Russ then took out the third-seeded pair of Sophie Asprey and Katie Messing from Pepperdine, 21-16, 19-21, 15-12, in the quarterfinals. It was Schucht and Tucker who ended Belton and Russ' run with a 21-15, 21-14 decision in the semifinals.

    Up next, the Trojans will face Irvine Valley College and Concordia in a pair of duals on Tuesday, April 14, on the campus of Irvine Valley College. For more information on the USC sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Hermosa Beach Pier | Hermosa Beach, Calif.
    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    [1] Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. [8] Casey Hinger/Kelcie Randazzo (CSUN); 21-9, 21-12

    [1] Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. [5] Betsi Metter/Sarah Sponcil (LMU); 21-11, 18-21, 15-12

    [1] Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. [3] Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow (PEP); 21-13, 21-14

    [1] Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. [16] Avery Bush/Anne Marie Taylor (LMU); 21-12, 21-13
    [11] Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC) def. [6] Taylor Akana/Litara Keil (LMU); 21-16, 16-21, 15-5

    [1] Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. [8] Sarah Baugh/Sierra Nobley (BSU); 21-13, 22-20
    [3] Kelley Larsen/Kellie Woolever (PEP) def. [11] Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC); 23-21, 21-11

    [1] Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. [4] Anete Brinke/Tyler Jackson (LBSU); 21-14, 14-21, 15-12

    [3] Kelley Larsen/Kellie Woolever (PEP) def. [1] Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC); 21-12, 21-12

    [1] Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. [17] Jaymee-Lee Bulda/Maddi Osburn (BSU); 21-11, 21-17
    [11] Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. [6] Rachelle Suaava/Hannah Tedrow (LMU); 21-12, 21-12

    [1] Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. [9] Katarina Pilepic/Emily Reed (USF); 21-6, 21-11
    [11] Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. [3] Sophie Asprey/Katie Messing (PEP); 21-16, 19-21, 15-12

    [1] Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. [13] Taylor Racich/Corinne Quiggle (PEP); 21-19, 21-17
    [2] Ka'iwi Schucht/Mikayla Tucker (UH) def. [11] Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC); 21-15, 21-14

    [1] Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. [2] Ka'iwi Schucht/Mikayla Tucker (UH); 15-21, 21-18, 15-12

    [10] USC7 (USC) def. Natasha Calkins/Gianna Ruggeroli (SCU); 21-10, 21-9
    [13] USC8 (USC) def. Lindsey Lawmaster/Ciana Wagner (LBSU); 21-18, 13-21, 15-12

    [1] Paige Hines/Jo Kremer (USC) def. [5] Brandy Grant/Mia Sakasegawa (GCU); 21-9, 21-10
    [2] London Chow/Hannah Zalopany (UH) def. [10] USC7 (USC); 21-15, 21-15
    [5] Brandy Grant/Mia Sakasegawa (GCU) def. [13] USC8 (USC); 21-11, 21-19

    [1] Paige Hines/Jo Kremer (USC) def. [5] Brandy Grant/Mia Sakasegawa (GCU); 21-17, 22-20

    [3] Samantha Cash/Leanna Schroeder (PEP) def. [1] Paige Hines/Jo Kremer (USC); 16-21, 21-16, 15-12