May 20, 2016
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May 20, 2016
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — USC beach volleyball juniors Kelly Claes, Sara Hughes, and Sophie Bukovec, and senior Alexa Strange were each named to the 2016 DiG Magazine Beach Volleyball All-America teams on Friday, May 20. Hughes was chosen as the season’s Player of the Year and was a member of the first team along with Claes and Strange. Bukovec was named to the second team.
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 total. 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 were 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.
Bukovec and Strange finished with a 33-9 overall record and suffered two of those losses to Claes and Hughes in tournament finals. They were 25-6 in duals and won 18 of their last 19 matches at the No. 2 position. Their six losses in duals were to teams ranked in the top six and four of those six battles went to three sets. Bukovec-Strange claimed the Aloha Invitational silver bracket championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Pairs’ Championship. They were also chosen as the Pac-12 Pair of the Week once this season (April 18) and were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference first team. The duo finished at 66-19 in all-time matches together.
The four Women of Troy rounded out a contingent of nine Pac-12 players represented on the DiG All-America teams. UCLA freshmen Megan and Nicole McNamara were named Freshmen of the Year. Arizona’s Madison and McKenna Witt were each on the first team and UCLA’s Kamila Tan was selected to the second team.
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 USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.