No. 1 USC Hangs Three On No. 5 Hawai'i to Advance to Bracket Final

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    May 5, 2017

    GULF SHORES, Ala. -- The No. 1-ranked and top-seeded USC beach volleyball team (36-1) earned a 3-0 sweep of fifth-seeded No. 5-ranked Hawai'i (26-6) in one winner's bracket semifinal of the 2017 NCAA championship on Friday, May 5. The win is USC's fourth in a row and puts the Women of Troy into the winner's bracket final set for 3 p.m. CT (1 p.m. PT) on Saturday, May 6.

    The victory is also USC's eighth in a row over Hawai'i and the team's 10th in a row in Gulf Shores. The Trojans won first sets on four courts to seize early control of the dual. At court three, junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin fired the first shot with a 21-19, 21-13 win over Emily Maglio and Laurel Weaver.

    After a slow start on court four, the Trojans' tandem of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis put together a 21-18 first-set win over Ari Homayun and Carly Kan. The Wahine put up a fight in the second frame and forced the Trojans to go the distance to earn their 25-23 win. Bustamante and Dennis' win was the pair's 18th of the year and gave the Women of Troy a 2-0 lead.

    In a similar finish at the top court, seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes scored a 21-17 win over Morgan Martin and Mikayla Tucker in their first set, but found themselves down, 15-13, late in the second set. The Women of Troy fought to earn a 19-all tie and then a 20-all tie before Hughes dug up a cut shot and then put a shot out of reach off the Wahine block to sew up a 22-20 win.

    With the dual decided, play was suspended on both courts two and five. On two, seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler held a 6-3 lead in the third set over Ka'iwi Schucht and Nikki Taylor. The Trojan duo dropped the first set, 21-12, but won their second, 21-10. On five, juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer defeated Amy Ozee and Hannah Zalopany, 21-12, in the first, but struggled in the second to allow the Wahine to take a 21-15 win. Play was suspended before the third set began.

    Up next, the Trojans will face the winner of the other winner's bracket semifinal between second-seeded UCLA (30-4) and third-seeded Pepperdine (25-3). The winner's bracket final will take place at 3 p.m. CT (1 p.m. PT) and be shown live on truTV. All courts are also available to be streamed live on computers and mobile devices via NCAA.com/liveschedule.

    For more information on the two-time national champion USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.

    [1] No. 1 USC def. [5] No. 5 Hawai'i, 3-0
    2017 NCAA Championship • Winner's Bracket Semifinal
    The Hangout • Gulf Shores, Ala.
    Friday, May 5, 2017
    Records: USC (36-1), Hawai'i (26-6)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Morgan Martin/Mikayla Tucker (UH); 21-17, 22-20
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Allie Wheeler (USC) vs. Ka'iwi Schucht/Nikki Taylor (UH); 12-21, 21-10, 6-3 DNF
    3. Terese Cannon/Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Emily Maglio/Laurel Weaver (UH); 21-19, 21-13
    4. Abril Bustamante/Joy Dennis (USC) def. Ari Homayun/Carly Kan (UH); 21-18, 25-23
    5. Jenna Belton/Jo Kremer (USC) vs. Amy Ozee/Hannah Zalopany (UH); 21-12, 15-21 DNF
    Order of finish: 3, 4, 1*