At first glance, it was an average, slightly overcast April Friday in Los Angeles. But there was nothing ordinary about top-seeded USC duo Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes' afternoon at Merle Norman Stadium. After two highly-competitive 22-20 sets, the pair emerged as the Pac-12 Conference's first-ever pairs champions, boasting an astounding 65-0 match record and remaining undefeated on the season (40-0).
After defeated fourth-seeded Arizona State in the semifinal, the Trojan pair battled through two tight sets against Arizona twins Madison and McKenna Witt. The pairs exchanged the lead multiple times in both sets, tying each at 20 before Claes and Hughes buckled down to claim two straight points for the match victory. The reigning 2015 AVCA National Pairs Champions will look to become the first-ever NCAA Pairs Champions next month.
The Trojan team will now compete for the inaugural Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Team Championship, of which the semifinal and final matches will be played on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. PT. Be sure to follow @USCBeach for in-match updates and more this weekend!