Hughes, Claes, Bukovec, and Wheeler Receive AVCA All-America Honors

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    Complete 2017 AVCA Beach Volleyball All-Americans Announcement

    May 18, 2017

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- USC beach volleyball seniors Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Kelly Claes (Fullerton, Calif.), Sophie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and Allie Wheeler (Saratoga, Calif.) were each named 2017 AVCA Beach Volleyball All-Americans on Thursday, May 18. The four selections is the most by any school this season and pushes the Trojans' all-time total certificates to 14, which ranks second (Pepperdine, 18). All four players are three-time national champions (AVCA 2015, NCAA 2016-17).

    Hughes' selection makes her the first-ever four-time beach volleyball All-American. She has been chosen three times with Claes and once with Kirby Burnham (2014). Hughes is a three-time individual national champion as well. She won the 2014 AVCA Pairs title with Burnham, the 2015 AVCA title with Claes, and the 2017 USAV title with Claes.

    Claes becomes only the third player to receive AVCA All-America honors three times in her career and joins Hughes and Jace Pardon (Florida State; 2013-14, 2016). She is a two-time individual national champion as owner of the 2015 AVCA title and the 2017 USAV crown; both won with Hughes. Claes is also the two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year.

    Claes and Hughes, as a pair, finished their senior seasons 55-1 overall. They are the first-ever collegiate pair to break the 50-win threshold in a season and completed their careers with a 147-4 all-time record over the course of three years. The duo also set a national record-winning streak with 103 consecutive wins between April 4, 2015, and April 8, 2017. They have won each of the first two Pac-12 pairs' championships and have been named Pac-12 Pair of the Year twice. They've also been chosen as the Pac-12 Pair of the Week on a record five different occasions.

    Bukovec receives her second AVCA All-America nod to go with a selection in 2015 when she and Alexa Strange advanced to the AVCA pairs' championship quarterfinals. She is the fourth Trojan with multiple All-America honors and joins Hughes, Claes, and Burnham. She is a two-time Pac-12 All-Conference selection and is also a Pac-12 Academic All-Conference honorable mention.

    Wheeler becomes USC's seventh different player to receive AVCA All-America laurels. It is the first such honor of her career and follows the completion of a 37-8 senior season. She was a 2017 Pac-12 All-Conference selection and has won at least 30 matches in each of her last three seasons.

    Bukovec and Wheeler paired together for the first time this season and went 25-7 overall with a 21-5 mark in duals matches. Individually, each player has amassed over 150 victories in their careers and were chosen as Pac-12 Pair of the Week once (April 24) and to the Pac-12's All-Tournament Team.

    The top-ranked Women of Troy went 38-1 in 2017 to capture the program's third consecutive national title and back-to-back NCAA crowns. USC also won its second of back-to-back Pac-12 team titles. Sixth-year head coach Anna Collier improved her all-time record to 146-18 as she guided the Trojans to an undefeated season on home sand (8-0) at Merle Norman Stadium.

    For more information on the three-time national champion USC beach volleyball team, news, schedules, and results, please visit and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.