Burnham and Hughes Claim USC Tournament Crown
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March 15, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's sand volleyball pair of senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes put together four victories and claimed the title in USC's 20-team bracket play tournament at Merle Norman Stadium on Saturday, March 15. The Trojans' pair defeated Florida State's top duo of Aurora Davis and Jace Pardon, 21-8, 21-12, in the title match and improved to 7-2 on the year.
As the top seed in the tournament, Burnham and Hughes were the only two Trojans to advance to the semifinals and were up against three pairs from Florida State. Davis and Pardon took out Seminole sisters Kristina and Stephanie Pellitteri, 21-14, 21-13, to move in to the final while Burnham and Hughes posted an impressive victory over FSU's Julie Brown and Melanie Pavels, 21-13, 21-12, to punch their ticket to the championship match.
The Trojan tandem showed its dominance as they walked through the round of 16 with a 21-13, 21-12 win over their fellow Women of Troy pair of senior Brooke Fournier and freshman Paige Hines. In the quarterfinals, Burnham and Hughes posted a 21-9, 21-13 win over Katie Mosher and Sarah Wickstrom of FSU.
USC's fourth-seeded team of freshman Kelly Claes and sophomore Alexa Strange fought tooth and nail to get a 21-12, 22-20 win over Kayla Joyce and Fatma Yildirim of Florida State in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Claes and Strange had the first match of the day to go three sets as they dropped a 21-23, 21-17, 15-13 decision to Brown and Pavels.
Juniors Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ took on USC seniors Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic in the round of 16 and pulled off the four-over-three upset with a 21-15, 21-14. Ettinger and Russ ran into Davis and Pardon in the quarterfinals where they fell, 21-18, 21-12.
Fournier and Hines was the only USC tandem of three to advanced out of the first round. Freshmen Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler couldn't get past Florida State's Annie Montgomery and Julia Thompson in a 21-16, 21-16 loss. Florida State's Hailey Luke and Sierra Sanchez defeated junior Kati Duddridge and Alexa Stonish, 21-9, 21-16.
Trojan pairs redeemed themselves in consolation matches as Fournier and Hines took out Loyola Marymount's Avery Bush and Kathleen Luft, 21-16, 21-14, and Martin and Wheeler picked up a 21-12, 21-17 win over Joyce and Yildirim. Hirschmann and Siljkovic took a 21-18, 21-11 win against LMU's Taylor Akana and Rachelle Suaava while Duddridge and Stonish topped things off with a 21-13, 21-16 win against Taylor Scioscia and Alyssa Walton.
The Women of Troy will spend spring break in paradise as USC heads to Hawai'i next week. The Trojans will face first-year program Arizona (12 p.m. HT) and host No. 5 Hawaii (1 p.m. HT) on Wednesday, March 19, at Queen's Beach in Waikiki. USC and No. 7 Nebraska take the courts at 12 p.m. HT on Thursday, March 20, before all four teams take part in a pool play tournament (9 a.m. HT) on Friday, March 21. USC's stay on the islands concludes with a bracket play championship with teams from Arizona, Hawaii, and Nebraska, on Saturday, March 22.
The Trojans' next match at Merle Norman Stadium is on Tuesday, March 25, when No. 1 Pepperdine comes to visit. Please go to USCTrojans.com for a complete schedule and more information.
USC PAIRS TOURNAMENT
ROUND OF 16