Burnham and Hughes Win Gold Bracket at USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge
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April 13, 2014
LOS ANGELES - USC women's sand volleyball senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes teamed up to claim three wins and take the Gold Bracket title at the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge on Sunday April 13. Sophomore Alexa Strange and freshman Kelly Claes got four wins as a pair in the Silver Bracket to win the crown there. Burnham and Hughes won their 19th straight match together and pushed their record as a duo to 27-3 while Claes and Strange won their 12th straight match as a pair and are now 24-4 overall.
Burnham and Hughes worked their way through the top pairs at the tournament as the top seed. In the first round, they defeated Taylor Milton and Nikki Hess of Santa Clara, 21-10, 21-7, with ease. The duo got a little scare in the semifinals up against a familiar opponent in Litara Keil and Betsi Metter of Loyola Marymount. The two teams were facing each other for the fourth time this spring. The Lions took a 21-15 win in the first set, but Burnham and Hughes came to life to claim a 21-9 win in the second before fighting off Keil and Metter for a 15-13 win in the third. In the championship match, Burnham and Hughes defeated Kellie Larsen and Kellie Woolever of Pepperdine, 21-15, 21-18, to claim the Gold Bracket title.
As the top seed in the Silver Bracket, Claes and Strange earned a 21-10, 21-18 win over Rachel Rhoades and Sarah Seiber of Arizona in the first round. The two cruised in the quarterfinals for a win against Pepperdine's team of Caitlin Racich and Delaney Knudsen, 21-14, 21-13. Claes and Strange faced Ginger Long and Ali Longo of Hawaii in the semifinals and took a 21-13, 21-19 win to advance to the championship match. Taking on their second straight Hawaii opponent, Claes and Strange stood up to the test to take out Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor in three sets, 21-13, 14-21, 15-13, and claim the Silver Bracket crown.
Seniors Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic were seeded 10th in the Silver Bracket and won, 21-19, 21-18, over Arizona's Madi Kingdon and Ronni Lewis in the first fround, but fell, 21-19, 21-13, to Pepperdine's second-seeded pair of Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow in the quarterfinals.
In the Bronze Bracket, USC juniors Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ held the top seed with freshmen Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler at the 10th seed and freshman Paige Hines and senior Brooke Fournier as the 15th seed. Ettinger and Russ defeated Santa Clara's Lacey Maas and Katy Schatzman, 21-15, 21-9, in the first round, but struggled with Pepperdine's ninth-seeded duo of Victoria Adelheim and Sophie Asprey in the quarterfinals to fall, 21-15, 21-18.
Martin and Wheeler earned a 21-7, 21-10 win over seventh-seeded Taylor Arizobal and Allie Cook of Arizona in the first round but were edged by the bracket's second-seeded team of Emily Cook and Katie Messing of Pepperdine in three sets, 21-18, 14-21, 15-12, in the quarterfinals. Fournier and Hines went the distance but couldn't get out of the first round as they fell to Cook and Messing, 21-18, 23-21.
The Trojans will host the first-ever Pac-12 Invitational tournament at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, Calif., on Saturday-Sunday (April 19-20). USC, Loyola Marymount, Bakersfield, Arizona, Arizona State, and Cal Poly will play down a six-team dual tournament on Saturday before pairs from USC, Bakersfield, Arizona and ASU play a 20-pair single-elimination tournament on Sunday. For more information, please visit USCTrojans.com.
2014 USAV BEACH COLLEGIATE CHALLENGE
GOLD | Quarterfinals
GOLD | Semifinals
GOLD | Final
SILVER | Round of 16
SILVER | Quarterfinals
SILVER | Semifinals
SILVER | Final
BRONZE | Round of 16
BRONZE | Quarterfinals
BRONZE | Semifinals
BRONZE | Final
COPPER | Semifinals