USC Pushes Past Panthers in 3-0 First-Round NCAA Win

    USC beach senior Zoe Nightingale (33) and partner Jo Kremer (30) have won 14 straight matches.

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    May 6, 2016

    GULF SHORES, Ala. -- The top-ranked and No. 2-seeded USC beach volleyball team (31-2) produced a 3-0 win over seventh-seeded No. 7 Georgia State (26-9) in the first round of the inaugural NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship on the sands of Gulf Place on Friday, May 6. The Women of Troy extended their winning streak to 27 duals and advanced to meet the winner of Arizona-Pepperdine in a match set for 4 p.m. CT (2 p.m. PT) today.

    In a staggered-start format, courts three and five began their matches before one, two, and four. At the fifth position, sophomore Jo Kremer and senior Zoe Nightingale won their 14th straight match with a 21-9, 21-11 victory over Chloe Cook and Alexis Townsend. Across the way, juniors Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler controlled their first set against Milani Pickering and Delaney Rohan for a 21-17 win, but were locked in a back-and-forth with the Panther duo in the second set. Wheeler's block sealed another 21-17 win for the Trojans and put USC up, 2-0, in the dual.

    The clinching point came from the top court where juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes dispatched of Jansen Button and Sara Olivova, 21-13, 21-13, for their 70th consecutive win. The top Trojan duo is now 45-0 on the season. With the dual decided, play was suspended on the other two courts.

    At two, junior Sophie Bukovec and senior Alexa Strange took a 21-16 win over Nina Interwies and Katelyn Raws in the first set, but were down, 19-17, in the second. The Trojans were making a hard charge to complete the sweep when play was halted. At court four, sophomore Jenna Belton and freshman Abril Bustamante dropped their first set, 21-19, to Brooke Weiner and Natalie Wilson, but earned the split with a 21-18 win in the second set when they were stopped.

    The Women of Troy have already faced each of their potential next opponents. USC defeated Arizona, 3-0, in the Pac-12 title match and went 2-1 against Pepperdine in the three meetings. The Trojans dropped a 3-2 decision at Zuma Beach, but defeated the Waves, 3-2, at Hermosa Beach and 4-1 in a home dual on April 14.

    For more information on the USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat. For more information on the inaugural NCAA beach volleyball championship, please visit

    [2] No. 1 USC 3, [7] No. 7 Georgia State 0
    2016 NCAA Championship • First Round
    Gulf Place and The Hangout • Gulf Shores, Ala.
    Friday, May 6, 2016
    Records: USC (31-2), Georgia State (26-9)
    1. Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes (USC) def. Jansen Button/Sara Olivova (GSU); 21-13, 21-13
    2. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange (USC) vs. Nina Interwies/Katelyn Rawls (GSU); 21-16, 17-19 DNF
    3. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) def. Milani Pickering/Delaney Rohan (GSU); 21-17, 21-17
    4. Jenna Belton/Abril Bustamante (USC) vs. Brooke Weiner/Natalie Wilson (GSU); 19-21, 21-18 DNF
    5. Jo Kremer/Zoe Nightingale (USC) def. Chloe Cook/Alexis Townsend (GSU); 21-9, 21-11
    Order of finish: 5, 3, 1*