Hughes and Claes Repeat as Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Year

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    May 4, 2017

    SAN FRANCISCO -- USC beach volleyball seniors Kelly Claes (Fullerton, Calif.) and Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) were named the 2017 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Year as announced by the conference on Thursday, May 4. It is the second consecutive year that the dynamic Trojan duo has taken home the award. Claes individually was chosen as the league's Player of the Year for the second time in a row. Both Claes and Hughes were named to the all-conference first team.

    Seniors Sophie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and Allie Wheeler (Saratoga, Calif.), and junior Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y.) were each named to the Pac-12 All-Conference second team and freshman Joy Dennis (Cypress, Calif.) was placed on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. Stanford's Kathryn Plummer was named Freshman of the Year and UCLA head coach Stein Metzger was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

    Claes and Hughes are the winningest pair in program history (136-4) and set a national record with a 103-match winning streak that spanned from April 2, 2015 through April 8, 2017. They claimed their second-consecutive Pac-12 Pairs Championship last week and were each named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team. The duo was named Pac-12 Pair of the Week twice this spring (March 7 and April 4) and has received that honor five times in their careers.

    Bukovec and Wheeler were paired for the first time this season and have produced a stellar 25-6 overall record with a 21-4 mark in duals. The duo was named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team following Bukovec's title-clinching kill in the championship match against UCLA. The tandem finished as the Pac-12 Pairs Championship runner-up to Claes and Hughes. Bukovec and Wheeler teamed to go 5-0 during the final week of the regular season and received the Pac-12's Pair of the Week honor on April 24.

    Cannon has paired with senior Nicolette Martin nearly all season. The duo has produced a 32-8 overall record, which includes a 29-6 mark in duals played primarily at the Nos. 2 and 3 positions. Cannon and Martin were named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week on March 28. Dennis, who has played primarily with sophomore Abril Bustamante has produced a 28-7 record as a freshman starter with a 24-6 mark in duals. She and Bustamante have a 16-5 mark together with a 15-5 record in duals at the No. 4 position.

    The defending NCAA champion, top-ranked USC (34-1) was awarded the No. 1 seed in the NCAA championships and will face eighth-seeded South Carolina (23-9) in the first round at 9 a.m. CT on Friday, May 8, in Gulf Shores, Ala. The Women of Troy have won each of the last two national titles (AVCA 2015) and seek an unprecedented third consecutive crown.

    A win over the Gamecocks would move the Trojans into the second round where they would face the winner of a dual between fourth-seeded Florida State (27-7) and fifth-seeded Hawai'i (25-5) at 3 p.m. CT later the same day. Two-time AVCA champion Pepperdine (24-3) is seeded third and will face sixth-seeded Long Beach State (25-8). LBSU owns the only other national title (2013). UCLA (29-4) holds the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 LSU (26-6) in a first-round match.

    The winner's bracket final is set for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday (May 6). The Elimination bracket final will play at 11 a.m. on Sunday (May7) with the championship dual set for 2 p.m. that day. Select matches will appear on truTV with championship match set for a live broadcast on TBS.

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