Claes and Hughes Named AVCA Beach Volleyball All-Americans

    USC beach juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes repeat as AVCA All-Americans.

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    May 11, 2016

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- USC beach volleyball juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes were each named to the fifth-annual American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Collegiate Beach All-America Team as announced on Wednesday, May 11. Hughes was chosen for the third time in her career, Claes for the second time, to give USC 10 all-time All-America certificates.

    Eight different schools are represented in this year's class; the first time an honorable mention team has been announced. The 2016 selections were made by the AVCA Beach Volleyball All-America Committee: chairperson Beth Van Fleet (Georgia State), Kristen Rohr (Grand Canyon), Wayne Holly (Tulane), Capri Grotowski (Florida Atlantic), Jeff Hall (Hawai'i), and Stein Metzger (UCLA).

    Claes and Hughes finished the season with an unblemished 48-0 record and lost just one set all year. Including 25 matches won to end the 2015 season, the duo extended their incredible winning streak to 73 matches, a span during which they've dropped just six sets altogether. In two years together, they hold the USC pairs' record with 92 wins and an astounding 92-3 overall record for a .968 winning percentage.

    As a pair, Claes and Hughes was crowned the first-ever Pac-12 Champion, and took home a conference-record three Pac-12 Pair of the Week awards (March 21, April 11, and April 25). They were named the Pac-12 Pair of the Year and were each chosen to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team. Claes was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The tandem also won the Hawai'i Invitational, the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge, and the Aloha Invitational tournaments this season. In duals, the two played exclusively at the top court and went 36-0 to help lead the Women of Troy to the first-ever NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship. Their victory provided USC with the clinching point in 13 duals this year.

    The other seven pairs of All-Americans were Madison and McKenna Witt (Arizona); Julie Brown and Jace Pardon (Florida State); Shannon Dugan and Mackenzie Phelps (Grand Canyon); Megan and Nicole McNamara (UCLA); Emily Maglio and Katie Spieler (Hawai'i); Heidi Dyer and Taylor Racich (Pepperdine); and Sara Putt and Vendy Strakova (Stetson). Delaney Clesen and Gabrielle Dischler of Florida Atlantic and Jansen Button and Sara Olivova of Georgia State were the two pairs to receive honorable mention status.

    The top-ranked Trojans finished with a 34-2 record and secured the inaugural NCAA crown on a 30-match winning streak. The Women of Troy defeated Florida State, 3-0, in the first NCAA title match and cemented themselves as the first-ever back-to-back collegiate beach volleyball national champions. Head coach Anna Collier became the first head coach to reach the 100-win mark and is now 108-17 in five seasons at Troy for a .864 winning percentage.

    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.