Claes and Hughes, Bukovec and Wheeler Advance to Quarterfinals of Pac-12 Pairs Championship

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    April 28, 2017

    TUCSON, Ariz. - The top-seeded USC beach volleyball duo of seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes and the Trojans’ sixth-seeded tandem of seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler advanced through the first round of the Pac-12 Pairs Championship at Bear Down Beach on Friday, April 28.

    In the round of 16, Bukovec and Wheeler faced off against Arizona State’s eleventh-seeded pair of Madison Berridge and Oluoma Okaro. After winning the first set 21-16, the Trojans had several match points to close the set, but the Sun Devil pair did not go down easily. After trading points, Bukovec and Wheeler escaped with a 26-24 win in the second set to advance to the next round of play. The win would be Bukovec and Wheeler’s 23rd overall this season (23-5) and improved their own winning streak to eleven consecutive matches.

    No. 1-seeded Claes and Hughes, the defending Pac-12 Pairs Champions, then took on California’s sixteenth-seeded pair of Grace Campbell and Nicole Anderson in the late afternoon match. The senior All-Americans made quick work of their Golden Bear counterparts, holding them to single digits and easily sweeping in two sets, 21-5, 21-7. The victory would be Claes and Hughes’ 41st this season overall (41-1) and marked the duo’s eleventh straight win.

    In tomorrow’s quarterfinal matchups, Bukovec and Wheeler are matched up with the No. 3 seed Bianca Arellano and Whitney Follette of Arizona State, while Claes and Hughes take on the No. 8 seed Elise Zappia and Torrey Van Winden of UCLA. Both quarterfinal matchups will begin at 9 a.m. PT. Should the Trojan pairs win, the semifinal matches are slated for 10:30 a.m. A Pac-12 pairs champion will be crowned at noon on Saturday (April 29).

    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.

    2017 PAC-12 PAIRS CHAMPIONSHIP 
    Bear Down Beach • Tucson, Ariz. 
    Friday, April 28, 2017

    ROUND OF 16 
    [1] Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. [16] Grace Campbell/Nicole Anderson (CAL); 21-5, 21-7
    [6] Sophie Bukovec/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. [11] Madison Berridge/Oluoma Okaro (ASU); 21-16, 26-24