Hughes and Claes Named Pair of the Year

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    May 25, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- The USC beach volleyball pair of Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kelly Claes (Fullerton, Calif.) was named the Pair of the Year on Wednesday, May 23, as announced on the publication's website. The Trojan duo was also named to the All-America first team. USC's No. 2 pair of seniors Sophie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and Allie Wheeler (Saratoga, Calif.) received All-America honorable mention from the online publication. All four players are three-time national champions (AVCA 2015, NCAA 2016-17).

    Hughes is the first-ever four-time AVCA All-American and Claes has been chosen for AVCA honors three times in her career. Hughes owns three individual national titles in addition to her team championships and was the DiG Magazine Player of the Year in 2016. Claes is 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 is a two-time AVCA All-American while Wheeler received her first AVCA All-America award this spring. Paired together for the first time this season, the duo went 25-7 overall with a 21-5 mark in duals matches. Individually, each player has amassed over 150 victories in their careers and was 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.