No. 1 USC Drops Close 3-2 Decision to No. 2 UCLA in Pac-12 Championship Semifinal

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    April 28, 2017

    TUCSON, Ariz. - The top-seeded and No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team (32-1) dropped a tight 3-2 contest to No. 2-ranked and second-seeded UCLA (29-3) in the winner's bracket semifinal of the 2017 Pac-12 Championships at Bear Down Beach on Friday, April 28. The Bruins handed the Trojans their first loss of the season and snapped USC's 62-match winning streak. USC now moves down to the contender's bracket final later today at 11:30 a.m.

    On a windy morning in Tucson, the Trojans picked up the first point of the dual at the top court by seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes, who recorded a 21-11, 21-19 win over UCLA's Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara. The win was Claes-Hughes' 38th of the season. All four other courts were engaged in back-and-forth battles early on, before UCLA broke through and scored their first point with a win on court three. Junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin dropped their match, 18-21, 13-21, to Elise Zappia and Torrey Van Winden, tying the dual at 1-1.

    The Bruins took a 2-1 dual lead when the USC tandem of juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer fell 17-21, 15-21 to Lily Justine and Savy Simo on court five. Belton and Kremer dropped just their third dual of the season (28-3 overall). The Trojans did make things interesting over on court four, though. For the third straight match, sophomore Katrina Kernochan replaced freshman Joy Dennis in the lineup, who was out with sickness. After dropping a close first set to UCLA's Jordan Anderson and Izzy Carey, the newly-formed USC pair of Kernochan and sophomore Abril Bustamante fought back from a 15-20 deficit to tie things up in the second set at 20-20. However, the Bruins would score the next two points to take the set 22-20 and clinch the Bruins' first-ever dual win over USC in eight tries.

    To close the match, USC got a win over on court two from seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler, who posted a three-set victory over Kamila Tan and Madi Yeomans, 19-21, 21-10, 17-15, to make the final score 3-2.

    The Trojans have little time to rest, as they now head to the contender's bracket final scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PT where they meet seventh-seeded Washington. For complete scores and information on 2017 Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship, visit Pac-12.com.

    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. 

    [2] No. 2 UCLA def. [1] No. 1 USC, 3-2
    2017 Pac-12 Championship | Winner's Bracket Semifinal
    Bear Down Beach • Tucson, Ariz.
    Friday, April 28, 2017
    Records: USC (32-1), UCLA (29-3)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara (UCLA); 21-11, 21-19
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Kamila Tan/Madi Yeomans (UCLA); 19-21, 21-10, 17-15
    3. Elise Zappia/Torrey Van Winden (UCLA) def. Terese Cannon/Nicolette Martin (USC); 18-21, 13-21
    4. Jordan Anderson/Izzy Carey (UCLA) def. Abril Bustamante/Katrina Kernochan (USC); 20-22, 20-22
    5. Lily Justine/Savy Simo (UCLA) def. Jenna Belton/Jo Kremer (USC); 17-21, 15-21
    Order of finish: 1, 3, 5, 4*, 2