Trojan Sand Volleyball Wins USC's 123rd National Championship

    The top-ranked USC sand volleyball team claimed the school's 123rd team national championship.

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    May 2, 2015

    GULF SHORES, Ala. - The No. 1-ranked USC sand volleyball team (28-0) capped a perfect season with a 3-0 victory over No. 6 Long Beach State (17-7) to claim the national title at the 2015 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. Head coach Anna Collier and the Women of Troy hoisted the trophy to represent USC's 123rd all-time team national championship.

    The Trojans had defeated the 49ers earlier in the day, but Long Beach State found its way back to the title match through a win in the back-draw semifinal over No. 4-ranked Pepperdine. This time, USC gave no quarter and made swift work of its opponent to claim the program's first team national crown.

    In a staggered start, the Trojans' No. 2 pair of sophomore Sophie Bukovec and junior Alexa Strange took to the sand first and exacted revenge for a loss earlier in the day with a 21-19, 21-14 victory over Anete Brinke and Tyler Jackson.

    At the No. 5 position, freshman Jenna Belton and senior Bria Russ provided a little drama with their three-setter, but cleared the air quickly. The duo defeated Rachel Nieto and Sammee Thomas, 21-18, in their first set, but couldn't overcome an early deficit in the second, and fell, 21-17. Belton and Russ hopped on a runaway train to complete a 15-10 win over the Beach duo and give the Trojans a 2-0 lead in the dual.

    In the top matchup of the championship dual, sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes were swift and decisive in their first set with Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Chelsea Cabrajac. The Trojan duo took a 21-7 victory, but struggled to stay with the LBSU pair in the second set. Down the stretch, Claes' serve took over and the Trojans came up with the points they needed to close out a 21-19 victory to clinch the dual.

    On court three, seniors Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton defeated Jenelle Hudson and Bre Mackie, 21-12, in their first set, and had a 13-9 lead in the second set when play was suspended. Sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler's match with Andrea McHugh and Ciana Wagner never made it to court.

    For more information on the USC sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    MATCH #28: No. 1 USC 3, No. 6 Long Beach State 0
    2015 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships - Final
    Gulf Shores, Ala.
    Saturday, May 2, 2015
    Records: USC (28-0), Long Beach State (17-7)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Chelsea Cabrajac (LBSU); 21-7, 21-19
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) def. Anete Brinke/Tyler Jackson (LBSU); 21-19, 21-14
    3. Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton (USC) vs. Jenelle Hudson/Bre Mackie (LBSU); 21-12, 13-9 susp.
    4. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) vs. Andrea McHugh/Ciana Wagner (LBSU); DNP
    5. Jenna Belton/Bria Russ (USC) def. Rachel Nieto/Sammee Thomas (LBSU); 21-18, 17-21, 15-10
    Order of finish: 2, 5, 1*