The USC senior duo upended Canada's top-seeded pair to take first in Ontario
2017 With four national championships now under her belt, three-time All-American Sara Hughes enters her final season at USC and will serve as team captain for the third straight year.
2016 As a junior, Hughes sported an undefeated match record with partner Kelly Claes to help the Women of Troy make history as the first-ever NCAA beach volleyball national champions… earned AVCA All-American honors for the third straight year… named to the inaugural Pac-12 All-Conference First Team… garnered DiG Magazine First Team All-American honors and was named DiG Magazine National Player of the Year... played exclusively at the No. 1 position alongside fellow All-American Claes as the nation’s indisputable top pair… produced an impressive 48-0 overall record with a 36-0 mark in dual matches, dropping just one set all season… provided the dual-clinching point thirteen different times throughout the season as well as all four points in matches played at the NCAA tournament… earned Pac-12 Pair of the Week honors three times (March 21, April 11, April 25)… won the Aloha Invitational gold bracket crown, the Hawai’i Invitational gold bracket championship, and the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge championship… captured the first-ever Pac-12 Pairs Championship and was named Pac-12 Pair of the Year with Claes… selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team as the pair from the No. 1 position.
2015 As a sophomore, Hughes was named an AVCA All-American… won the AVCA Pairs National Championship with partner Kelly Claes… went 44-3 overall with Claes including a 19-0 mark in tournaments to win titles in the USC Tournament, the Queen of the Beach Challenge Gold Bracket, the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge Gold Bracket, and Pac-12 Invitational Gold… went 25-3 in dual matches and produced the clinching point in USC’s AVCA Championship dual victory over Long Beach State… ended the season on a 25-match winning streak… played exclusively at the top court in all 28 of USC’s dual matches… won the fall 2014 EVP Winter Series Tournament with Claes in Huntington Beach, Calif.
2014 As a freshman, Hughes paired with Kirby Burnham to win the AVCA Pairs National Championship… named AVCA All-American… paired with Burnham the entire season, the duo set a new USC record with 42 wins and finished the season 42-4… went 21-4 at the top court in dual matches and was 21-0 in tournament matches… delivered the clinching victory in eight dual matches… won the USC Pairs Tournament (Mar. 15), the Rainbow Wahine Spring Challenge (Mar. 22), the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge (Apr. 13), and the Pac-12 Invitational (Apr. 20)… produced a 28-match winning streak from March 20 through April 26… regarded as the top sand volleyball recruit in the 2013 class… selected to the 2013 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 list and became first high school player to declare that she will only play sand volleyball collegiately.
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE Paired with Kelly Claes to win two 2015 NORCECA Beach Qualifiers in Hermosa Beach… advanced to the semifinals at AVP NYC with Claes before falling to champions Emily Day and former Trojan Jennifer Kessy… took bronze with Claes at the 2015 NORCECA Ontario North Bay Tour Stop… finished ninth with Claes in the 2015 AVP Manhattan Beach Open… won the 2014 NORCECA silver medal with Claes in Boquerón, Puerto Rico… took bronze at the 2014 U21 FIVB World Championships with Claes in Cyprus… won the bronze medal at the 2013 FIVB U19 World Championship in Portugal with Claes and teamed with Lane Carico to win the Porta del Sol Beach Volleyball Tournament at Puerto Rico, part of the NORCECA Beach Circuit… also teamed with former Trojan Kirby Burnham to win the Open Division of the Huntington Beach CBVA tournament and the EVP Huntington Beach Winter Series in 2013… in the summer of 2012, she was fourth at the FIVB Junior World Championship in Halifax (with Summer Ross), seventh at the NORCECA Beach tour stop in Chula Vista (with Burnham), ninth at the FIVB Youth World Championship in Cyprus (with Justine Wong-Orantes), 25th at the Manhattan Open (with Lilla Frederick), and competed in the FIVB Thailand Open (with Kaitlin Sather)… in the summer of 2011, she won the AAU Junior National Beach Championship and was ninth at the FIVB Youth World Championship in Croatia (both with Wong-Orantes) and was 17th at the Manhattan Open and 25th at the FIVB Junior World Championships in Halifax (both with Caitlin Racich).
HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB Hughes was a four-year letterwinner at Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana (Calif.) as a setter/right-side hitter… was a 2012 Volleyball Magazine High School All-American second team, All-CIF first teamer and Orange County Register All-Orange County Player of the Year as a senior… earned second-team All-League honors as a freshman in 2009… was first-team All-League in her sophomore, junior, and senior year… named Best Defensive Player in 2009 and MVP in 2010, 2011, and 2012… held a 4.0 GPA from 2009-2011 and earned Outstanding College Preparatory English student in 2013… was named 2013 Female Athlete of the Year at Mater Dei… played eight years with Long Beach Mizuno VBC… helped her club team win a gold medal at the 2011 Junior Olympics in the 16 Open division.
PERSONAL Sara Elizabeth Hughes was born on Feb. 14, 1995, in Long Beach, Calif.… parents are Rory and Laura Hughes… has an older brother, Connor, and an older sister, Lauren… brother Connor played outside hitter at UC Irvine and was a member of the Anteaters’ 2012 and 2013 NCAA Championship teams (he was the tournament MVP in 2013)… sister Lauren, played volleyball at Fairfield… lists Misty May-Treanor as her biggest sports heroine… member of the Trojan Athletic Senate… majoring in business administration.