No. 1 USC Hosts California For Pac-12 Networks Dual|
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March 27, 2017
MATCH #17 Tuesday, March 28 - 4 p.m. PT
MATCH #18 Saturday, April 1 - 9 a.m. PT
MATCH #19 Sunday, April 2 - 9:30 a.m. PT
MATCH #20 Sunday, April 2 - 12 p.m. PT
LOS ANGELES -- The top-ranked USC beach volleyball team (16-0) brings a 46-match winning streak into a week in which it will host California (8-3) at Merle Norman Stadium before it heads north for duals with San Francisco (0-9), Saint Mary's College (10-3), and San Jose State (5-5). The Women of Troy won four duals over the weekend at the Gamecock Grand Slam in Columbia, S.C. When the Trojans meet the Golden Bears on Tuesday (March 28), it will be USC's first this season on the Pac-12 Networks.
Following USC's dual with Cal, the teams will break into gold, silver, and bronze brackets to play down a pairs' tournament format beginning at approximately 6 p.m. PT. The Trojans can reach the 50 consecutive wins plateau if they can maintain momentum and win all four of their duals this week. USC has won 78 of its last 80 dual matches and is led by its senior pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes. The dynamic duo is the first and only USC pair to reach 100 wins together (110-3 overall) and is on an incredible 91-match winning streak that dates back to April 2, 2015.
Despite the fact that all four of the Trojans' other pairs are newly formed, each one has already reached 10 wins this season. Behind Claes and Hughes, juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer are 15-2 overall with a 14-1 mark at the No. 5 position in duals. In the middle of the lineup, junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin have put together a 13-win season so far and picked up 12 of those in duals. Seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler, at the No. 2 spot, and the pair of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis at No. 4 have each earned 10 overall victories this season.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy went 5-0 in duals last week with three of the victories in the books as 5-0 sweeps. The other two were decisive 4-1 wins. The Trojans played their first home match of the season as host to Loyola Marymount and took out the Lions, 5-0, on Wednesday. Two days later, USC headed to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Grand Slam and picked up 5-0 wins over No. 9 South Carolina and No. 9 Georgia State. The Trojans also handled No. 4 Florida State and No. 13 Stetson in 4-1 victories. The five wins extended the Trojans' winning streak to 46 consecutive duals.
SCOUTING REPORT: California (8-3) is coming off a pair of losses to UCLA and Long Beach State. Prior to the setbacks, the Bears had moved into the AVCA's top 15. USC is 3-0 in all-time meetings against Cal. San Francisco (0-9) has lost every dual it has played this season. Of the nine, all but one have been in 5-0 sweeps. The only dual point the Dons have won has been in a 4-1 loss to Portland. USC won the only meeting it has had with USF in 2015. Saint Mary's College (10-3) is on a four-match winning streak. The Gaels' three losses were to Cal, Stanford, and UCLA. USC is 2-0 in all-time meetings with SMC. San Jose State (5-5) won four of its first five duals to open the season but comes into the week having lost four of the last five. USC is 1-0 in its only meeting with the Spartans: a 5-0 win in Bakersfield.
HOME, SWEET, HOME: The Women of Troy are 35-4 at Merle Norman Stadium since the venue's opening in 2013. The Trojans won 19 straight home matches between 2014 and 2016; and went 10-0 in 2015 and 8-0 in 2014 on MNS sand. USC currently owns a nine-match winning streak at the stadium. Only three teams have ever come to Merle Norman Stadium and beaten the Trojans: Florida State (twice), Long Beach State, and Pepperdine.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: On Saturday, April 23, 2016, USC defeated Hawai'i, 3-0, to make head coach Anna Collier the first and only collegiate beach volleyball coach to reach the 100 career victories mark. She is currently 124-17 (.879) all-time. The next closest coach is Pepperdine's Nina Matthies who is 97-14 (.874).
SENIOR CITIZENS: The Trojans' seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes are the winningest pair in program history. The duo has won 110 matches (3 losses) together over the course of a three-year relationship. Seniors Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler formed the second-most successful duo in school history from 2014-16 as they amassed 91 victories (91-14) through the end of the 2016 NCAA championship run. Claes and Hughes own the USC single-season record for wins with a 48-0 mark achieved in 2016.
LET'S GO STREAKING: USC set a new program record to close the 2016 season as winners of 30 consecutive matches. The streak carried into the 2017 campaign and now stands at 46 straight wins. Seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes have won 91 straight matches dating back to April 2, 2015. During that streak, the two Trojans have lost just six sets (only one in 2016). The dynamic duo won 25 straight matches to close the 2015 season as AVCA National Pairs Champions and finished with a final mark of 44-3. They then went undefeated in 2016 with a 48-0 record.