Claes and Hughes Claim 2017 Collegiate Beach Pairs Championship|
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May 13, 2017
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. -- USC's senior duo of Kelly Claes (Fullerton, Calif.) and Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) won its second pairs' national title by defeating teammates senior Nicolette Martin (Anaheim, Calif.) and junior Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y.) in three sets, 19-21, 21-13, 15-11, to claim the 2017 USAV Collegiate Beach Pairs Championship at the Hermosa Beach Pier on Saturday, May 13. Claes and Hughes successfully defended their 2015 AVCA championship and brought USC its fourth all-time pairs national crown.
In as competitive a national final as they come, before a sold-out crowd and broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network, Cannon and Martin stepped in front to claim the first set, 21-19. The duo led, 5-2, and stayed in front to hold a four-point lead at 14-10, but Claes and Hughes made a push to knot the score at 17-all and again at 18-all. Martin went back and served an ace to put her pair ahead, 19-18, and finished off the set on their second set-point opportunity.
The second frame was just as hotly contested at the outset as the pairs found themselves knotted at eight-all. A 5-0 run by Claes-Hughes made the score, 13-8, but Martin and Cannon came back with a 3-0 run of their own to bring themselves within two at 13-11. From there, Claes and Hughes stepped on the gas to pull way and evened the match with a 21-13 win.
The two Trojan pairs were deadlocked at three-all, four-all, and five-all, in the final set. Claes and Hughes tried to create some space, but Cannon and Martin pulled even at 11-all. That was, however, as close as they would come as Claes and Hughes racked up the final four points of the match to claim the national title. Claes and Hughes complete their collegiate careers with an incredible record of 147-4 overall and are the owners of a national-record 103-match win streak. Cannon-Martin finished the year 41-10.
In the semifinals, Claes and Hughes defeated Pepperdine's team of Brittany Howard and Corinne Quiggle in three sets, 18-21, 21-14, 15-11. In the other semifinal, Cannon and Martin also dropped their first set by a 21-18 count to Georgia State's Delaney Rohan and Chelsea Ross, but came back to get a 23-21 win in the second. Down to the wire, Cannon-Martin pulled out a 15-13 win in the final set to clinch a spot in the all-USC final. Howard and Quiggle went on to defeat Rohan and Ross to finish in third place.
On the men's side, USC senior Lucas Yoder and partner Michael Saeta of UC Irvine claimed gold.
The USC beach volleyball team won its third consecutive national championship as the Women of Troy finished 38-1 to capture back-to-back NCAA crowns. The Trojans also won their second of back-to-back Pac-12 titles. Head coach Anna Collier, the winningest head coach in the history of the sport, guided her team to an NCAA record 62 consecutive wins during the season. Claes and Hughes won back-to-back Pac-12 Pairs championships and had a 103-match winning streak at one point during the spring. The duo was named the Pac-12 Pair of the Year while Claes was tabbed Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
For more information on the three-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.
2017 USAV COLLEGIATE BEACH CHAMPIONSHIPS
ROUND OF 16