No. 1 USC Edges No. 4 UCLA in Pac-12 Semifinal

    USC beach sophomore Jo Kremer and partner Zoe Nightingale have won 12 straight matches.

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    May 1, 2016

    LOS ANGELES -- The top-seeded and No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team (29-2) fought off second-seeded No. 4 UCLA (19-5) to get a 3-2 victory in the winner's bracket semifinal of the inaugural Pac-12 Championships at Merle Norman Stadium on Sunday, May 1. The Women of Troy advance to the first-ever Pac-12 title match set for 4 p.m. PT later today. The win was the Trojans' 25th straight.

    USC fired the first shot of the dual with a win at court five. Sophomore Jo Kremer and senior Zoe Nightingale extended their winning streak to 12 straight matches on a 21-13, 23-21 win over Julie Consani and Laurel Weaver. In a hotly contested three-set match, the Bruins' Zana Muno and Jessyka Ngauamo upended sophomore Jenna Belton and freshman Abril Bustamante, 18-21, 22-20, 15-11. The point equalized the dual and was the first-ever dual point scored against USC in five all-time meetings.

    UCLA broke the tie and went ahead, 2-1, with a win at court three. Izzy Carey and Elise Zappia won, 21-18, in the first set, and then pulled away to get a 21-13 win in the second over juniors Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler. Moments later, juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes completed a 21-17, 21-19 win over Megan and Nicole McNamara at the top court. It was the 68th straight victory for Claes and Hughes and moved them to 43-0 overall this season.

    With the dual tied up at two all, all eyes were on court two where junior Sophie Bukovec and senior Alexa Strange took a 21-19 win over Ivey Schmitt and Kamila Tan in the first set. Tied at 14, Bukovec and Strange put up a 7-2 run to close out the set, 21-16, and claimed the final dual point for the Trojans.

    The Bruins' loss sends them to the contender's bracket where they must meet the winner of a match between third-seeded Arizona (17-4) and seventh-seeded upstart Washington (5-5) at 1 p.m. PT. For complete scores and information on the inaugural Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship, please visit

    For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, please visit and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat.

    [1] No. 1 USC 3, [2] No. 4 UCLA 2
    2016 Pac-12 Championship • Winner's Bracket Semifinal
    Merle Norman Stadium • Los Angeles, Calif.
    Sunday, May 1, 2016
    Records: USC (29-2), UCLA (19-5)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Megan McNamara/Nicole McNamara (UCLA); 21-17, 21-19
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Ivey Schmitt/Kamila Tan (UCLA); 21-19, 21-16
    3. Izzy Carey/Elise Zappia (UCLA) def. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC); 21-18, 21-13
    4. Zana Muno/Jessyka Ngauamo (UCLA) def. Jenna Belton/Abril Bustamante (USC); 18-21, 22-20, 15-11
    5. Jo Kremer/Zoe Nightingale (USC) def. Julie Consani/Laurel Weaver (UCLA); 21-13, 23-21
    Order of finish: 5, 4, 3, 1, 2*