USC Beach Signs Graudina, Hallgren, Kaiser, and Slater to 2017-18 Class|
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Nov. 16, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The two-time defending national champion USC beach volleyball team has signed four recruits to national letters of intent head coach Anna Collier announced on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Tina Graudina (Jurmala, Latvia), Haley Hallgren (Carroll HS/Southlake, Texas), Maja Kaiser (Smithson Valley HS/Bulverde, Texas), and Sammy Slater (Ventura HS/Ventura, Calif.) will join the Women of Troy as freshmen in the fall of 2017.
"We are so pleased to be bringing in such a talented group of student-athletes," said Collier. "This class is representative of some of the highest level of beach volleyball talent both in the country and internationally. They will arrive as freshmen, but the wealth of experience on the sand that our signees brings to the table is immeasurable; from gold medals at international competitions to impact players at the USA Beach High Performance championships, they are seasoned, and we are confident that they will have a big impact on the future of our program."
Graudina is the program's first-ever international recruit and hails from Jurmala, Latvia. She comes to USC as one of the most accomplished beach players on the international scene, and recently won gold at the 2016 CEV European U22 Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece. Graudina also captured gold medals at the 2015 CEV U18 European Championship in Riga, Latvia, and the 2014 CEV Youth Continental Cup in Umag, Croatia. In addition, Graudina took fifth at the 2016 FIVB U19 World Championship in Larnaka, Cyprus, and the 2016 CEV U20 European Championship in Antalya, Turkey. In 2014, Graudina won a bronze medal at the FIVB U17 World Championship in Acapulco, Mexico, and had a ninth place finish at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Hallgren prepped indoors at Carroll Senior HS in Southlake, Texas. She was selected for UnderArmour All-America honorable mention and earned her CBVA AAA rating in 2016. She is a four-year member of the USA A1 National Team (2013-16) and won a gold medal at the USA Beach U19 High Performance Championship. Hallgren also has a gold medal from the U18 AAU Junior Olympics and a bronze medal from the USA Beach U19 World Championship Team Trials. In 2016, Hallgren finished first at the CBVA Long Beach U18 event, second at the AVP Next Dallas Open, and took third at the CBVA Marine Street Open. In 2015, Hallgren won gold medals at the USA Beach U17 High Performance Championship and the AAU Best of the Beach event, and took silver at the FIVB U17 World Championship in 2014.
Kaiser prepped at Smithson Valley HS in Spring Branch, Texas, where she played indoor volleyball and starred as an outside hitter, an opposite hitter, and at middle blocker. She was a member of the USA A1 U17 National Team in 2015 and was chosen to the A2 National Teams in 2013-14 and 2016. Kaiser took first place three times in 2016 at USAV U18 events in Gulf Shores, Cedar Park, and Austin, and had fifth-place finishes at the USA Beach U19 High Performance Championship and the AAU Beach Nationals in Hermosa Beach. In 2015, Kaiser won a silver medal at the USA Beach U17 HP Championship and won the AVP Next Dallas Women's Open and CBVA Long Beach U16 events.
Slater prepped at Ventura HS in Ventura, Calif., where she played indoor volleyball. She was recently named to the UnderArmour All-America second team and is a three-year member of the USA A1 National Team (2014-16). She has won numerous medals at USA Beach events. In 2016, Slater earned her CBVA AAA rating and took gold at the USA Beach U19 High Performance Championship and the U18 AAU Junior Olympics. Slater also won bronze at the USA Beach U19 World Championship Team Trials and took fourth at the U21 World Championship Team Trials. In 2015, she captured two silver medals at the U16 AAU Junior Olympics and the CBVA Cal Cup; and won gold at the USA Beach U17 HP Championship. Slater was also named USA Volleyball Magazine's female "On The Radar" beach athlete in 2014, the same year she won two CBVA adult events in Huntington Beach, Calif., and Long Beach, Calif.
Last season, the top-ranked Women of Troy finished with a 34-2 overall record and secured the inaugural Pac-12 championship and the sport's first-ever NCAA crown. The Trojans completed a 30-match winning streak and defeated Florida State, 3-0, in the first NCAA title match to cement themselves as the first-ever back-to-back collegiate beach volleyball national champions. Collier became the first collegiate head coach to reach the 100-win mark and is 108-17 in five seasons at Troy for an .864 winning percentage. Seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes went undefeated with a 48-0 record and dropped just one set all season. They were each named AVCA All-Americans and won the first-ever Pac-12 Pairs championship.
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.