No. 1 USC Women's Sand Volleyball Splits Two Matches At AVCA National Championships

    Nicolette Martin (left) and Allie Wheeler

    USCWomensVolley on Twitter  USCWomensVolley on Facebook  USCWomensVolley on Instagram

    Follow, Like, and Insta with @USCSandVBall

    May 2, 2014

    GULF SHORES, Ala. - After being upset by No. 4 Hawaii, 3-2, in its opening match of the tournament, the No. 1-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team bounced back by beating No. 6 Stetson, 4-1, on the first day of the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship on Friday (May 2) in Gulf Shores, Ala.

    USC now advances to the tourney's sudden death final four, where it faces No. 2 Pepperdine in a semifinal match on Saturday (May 3) at noon CT. The winner of that match will play in Saturday's final at 3:30 pm CT against the winner of the 11 a.m. CT Hawaii-Florida State semifinal.

    Against Stetson (18-6), USC saw wins on Court 1 (Kirby Burnham/Sara Hughes over Kaley Melville/Kaylee Anderson, 21-13, 21-10), then on Court 4 (Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ over Rachael Farrell/Julie Bassett, 21-10, 21-16), followed by a win on Court 2 (Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange over Savannah Byl/Catherine Coston, 21-15, 21-10) to clinch the match and then on Court 5 (Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler over Kristin Lind/Tiffany Creamer, 21-14, 21-18). USC's only loss came on Court 3, as Sam Hirschmann/Natasa Siljkovic ended the day by falling to Maren Rygh/Jordann Dierickx, 21-19, 21-15.

    The Women of Troy (23-2) were upset in their morning opener by Hawaii, 3-2, forcing USC into the afternoon's loser's bracket versus Stetson, which had dropped its opener to No. 3 Florida State, 5-0.

    The loss to Hawaii (20-3) snapped USC's 21-match winning streak and was only its second defeat of the season.

    After USC's No. 5 team of Martin/Wheeler swept Hawaii's Kaylee Riggs/Mikayla Tucker, 21-9, 21-19, UH won the next 3 matches to clinch the team upset: Karissa Cook/Brittany Tiegs beat Burnham/Hughes on Court 1, 23-21, 22-20, then London Chow/Olivia Urban beat Ettinger/Russ on Court 4 and Ginger Long/Ali Longo defeated Hirshmann/Siljkovic, 21-19, 22-20, on Court 3. USC's No. 2 team of Claes/Strange got USC its second team point with a closing 15-21, 21-18, 15-12 victory over UH's Katie Spieler/Nikki Taylor.

    Hawaii opened the day's action with a 4-1 victory over Florida International, which also lost in an elimination match to Florida State, 5-0

    Hawaii 3, USC 2
    Records: Hawaii (20-3), USC (22-2)
    1. Brittany Tiegs/Karissa Cook (UH) def. Kirby Burnham/Sara Hughes (USC) 23-21, 22-20
    2. Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Katie Spieler/Nikki Taylor (UH) 15-21, 21-18, 15-12
    3. Ginger Long/Ali Longo (UH) def. Sam Hirshmann/Natasa Siljkovic (USC) 21-19, 22-20
    4. London Chow/Olivia Urban (UH) def. Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ (USC) 21-19, 21-19
    5. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Karlee Riggs/Mikayla Tucker (UH) 21-9, 21-19

    USC 4, Stetson 1
    Records: USC (23-2), Stetson (18-6)
    1. Kirby Burnham/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Kaley Melville/Kaylee Anderson (STET) 21-13, 21-10
    2. Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Savanna Byl/Catherine Coston (STET) 21-15, 21-10
    3. Maren Rygh/Jordann Dierickx (STET) def. Sam Hirshmann/Natasa Siljkovic (USC) 21-19, 21-15
    4. Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ (USC) def. Rachael Farrell/Julie Bassett (STET) 21-10, 21-16
    5. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Kristin Lind/Tiffany Creamer (STET) 21-14, 21-18