No. 1 USC Closes Regular Season on Home Sand|
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April 19, 2017
MATCH #27 Thursday, April 20 - 2 p.m. PT
MATCH #28 Thursday, April 20 - 4 p.m. PT
MATCH #29 Saturday, April 22 - 1 p.m. PT
SENIOR DAY 2017
LOS ANGELES -- The top-ranked USC beach volleyball team (26-0) will end the regular season with four duals on home sand at Merle Norman Stadium this weekend. On Thursday (April 20), the Trojans face No. 5 Long Beach State (23-5) and CSU Bakersfield (1-13) at 2 and 4 p.m. PT. On Saturday (April 22), USC hosts Cal Poly (12-19) at 1 p.m., and will end the regular season against the same team it started the spring against: No. 2-ranked crosstown rival UCLA (25-2). The Trojans and Bruins will play at 3 p.m. USC's Thursday matches will be shown live on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Los Angeles.
USC is on a 56-match winning streak and has won 88 of its last 90 dual matches. The Trojans are led by seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes. The dynamic duo is the first and only pair in program history to reach 100 wins together (123-4 overall). All four of USC's other pairs are newly formed this season, but each one has already reached at least 10 wins with two over the 20-win mark. Behind Claes and Hughes, juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer are 28-3 overall with a 24-1 mark in duals. They enter the weekend on an eight-match winning streak. In the middle of the lineup, junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin have put together a 24-win season and have picked up 21 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 13 overall victories this season.
Prior to the beginning of its dual with Cal Poly, the Women of Troy will honor its highly-successful senior class of Bukovec, Claes, Hughes, Martin, and Wheeler in pre-match ceremonies. The five Trojans have amassed over 400 wins individually and led the program to back-to-back national titles in 2015 and 2016.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy extended their winning streak to 56 matches and remained undefeated (26-0) following a 5-0 sweep of Stanford in the teams' first-ever meeting. Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer earned their eighth straight win. In their first match together in nearly 10 days, seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler cemented the win with a clinching point at court two.
1-2 PUNCH: When No. 1 USC and No. 2 UCLA meet on Saturday (April 22), the Trojans will play in their ninth 1v2 matchup. The Trojans are 5-3 all-time in No. 1 vs. No. 2 duals. They were in four such matches in 2016 and went 3-1. They didn't play any in 2015 but played three 1-vs-2 duals in 2014 and went 1-2 in those. Overall, in these duals, USC is 3-2 when ranked No. 1 and 2-1 when ranked No. 2.
SCOUTING REPORT: No. 5 Long Beach State (23-5) has won eight of its last 10 duals with the two losses in 3-2 decisions against No. 2 UCLA and No. 2 Pepperdine. In fact, the 49ers have lost to both of those teams twice this season. LBSU's fifth loss was a 4-1 final to No. 2 Florida State. LBSU and USC have met 10 times previously and split the meetings 5-5. Long Beach State is one of just four teams ever to record a win over the Trojans. CSU Bakersfield (1-13) earned its only win in a 5-0 sweep of Cal State LA last week. USC is 6-0 in all-time meetings with the Road Runners but have not played CSUB since the end of 2015. Cal Poly (12-19) has played a schedule filled with ranked opponents this season and is just 2-8 in its last 10 duals. The wins were both 5-0 sweeps of San Jose State and San Francisco. USC and Cal Poly will meet for the first time. No. 2 UCLA (25-2) has won a school-record 23 consecutive duals since it dropped a pair of matches to USC and Pepperdine on March 4 in Malibu, Calif. The Trojans are 6-0 all-time against the Bruins, but have won each of the last two meetings by a narrow 3-2 decision.
POW-WOW: USC pairs have won the Pac-12's Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week honor four times (out of seven weeks) this season. Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes claimed the first honor of the season on March 7 and won their fifth all-time award on April 4. Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer became the first-ever No. 5 pair to take home the weekly award on March 21, and USC's pair of Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin earned the distinction on March 28. In all, USC has had its pair claim the weekly award 10 times since its inception in 2016.
HOME, SWEET, HOME: The Women of Troy are 38-4 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 12-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 collegiate beach volleyball coach to reach the 100 career victories mark. She is currently 134-17 (.887) all-time. The next closest coach is Pepperdine's Nina Matthies who reached 100 this season and is 104-16 (.867) overall.
SENIOR CITIZENS: The Trojans' seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes are the winningest pair in program history. The duo has won 123 matches (4 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 and the record for longest winning streak with a 103-match run between April 2, 2015 and April 8, 2017.
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 56 straight wins. Seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won 103 straight matches between April 2, 2015 and April 8, 2017. During that incredible streak, the two Trojans lost just seven sets (only one in 2016 and one in 2017). 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.