Beach Volleyball
    Ross-Walsh Jennings Capture AVP San Francisco Title

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    June 26, 2016

    SAN FRANCISCO -- USC volleyball alumna April Ross teamed with partner Kerri Walsh Jennings to win the 2016 AVP San Francisco crown on Sunday, June 26. The duo captured their 11th AVP crown with a 21-17, 21-13 win over Trojan seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes. Appearing in their first-career AVP final, Claes and Hughes stunned the champs earlier in the tournament by handing the duo their first set loss since the 2014 Manhattan Beach Open (Aug. 17). The win is Ross's 27th-career AVP title overall.

    Ross and Walsh Jennings improved to 3-0 in AVP tournaments this summer as champions of the New York City event last week and the Huntington Beach stop (May 8). The duo also owns the title from the FIVB's Cincinnati Open (May 21), an event presented by the AVP, and will represent the United States in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

    Ross and Walsh Jennings opened up their run to the title with a 21-10, 21-14 win over Madison and McKenna Witt of Arizona in the first round. In the second round, they took down ninth-seeded Irene Hester Pollock and Caitlin Ledoux, 21-15, 21-14. The third round pitted Ross-Walsh Jennings against Claes and Hughes. There, the USC seniors served notice by handing the powerhouse duo a first-set loss, but eventually fell in a hard-fought three-set contest, 17-21, 21-18, 17-15. Ross and Walsh Jennings earned their spot in the final by defeating fifth-seeded Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar, 21-13, 21-18, in the semifinals.

    Claes and Hughes opened their week with a 21-10, 21-10 win over Skylar Caputo and Madalyn Roh of Pepperdine in the qualifier. They then defeated Michelle Boydstun and Amber Walker, 21-12, 21-8, to set up an all-USC match for one of four qualifier spots in the main draw. There, Claes and Hughes defeated fellow Trojan seniors Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler, 21-8, 21-7, to punch their ticket into the big bracket.

    Martin and Wheeler went 2-1 in the qualifier with a 21-14, 21-12 win over Erika Rodriguez and Claire Smalzer in the first round. The two Trojans also beat Lindsey Knudsen and Corrine Quiggle, 21-18, 21-19, in their second qualifying match. In other qualifier action, Trojan alumnae Jessica (Gysin) Clausen and Diane Copenhagen went 1-1 with a 21-13, 21-14 win over Brook Bauer and Diana Gordon and a 21-17, 18-21, 15-7 loss to Aurora Davis and Bree Scarbrough.

    Into the main draw as the 13th seed, Claes and Hughes delivered the first upset of the tournament by taking down the fourth-seeded pair of Jennifer Fopma and USC alumna Jennifer Kessy, 21-13, 19-21, 15-11. In the second round, the Trojans earned a 27-25, 21-15 win over Day and Hochevar. After the third-round loss to Ross-Walsh Jennings, Claes and Hughes found their way back to the semifinals by beating the 11th-seeded team of Ali McColloch and Kelly Reeves, 21-13, 21-10. In the semis, the pair of Trojans made history by advancing to their first-ever AVP final with a 21-15, 23-21 win over the second-seeded duo of Lane Carico and Summer Ross.

    Trojan alumna Geena Urango and partner Angela Bensend held the sixth seed in the main draw, but were upset by McColloch and Reeves, 17-21, 21-14, 15-12, in the first round. In the Contender's Bracket, Bensend-Urango pushed past Davis and Scarbrough, 21-9, 21-13, and then beat Ledoux and Pollock, 21-17, 16-21, 15-12. The duo couldn't get past Day and Hochevar and fell, 21-19, 21-15, in the third round of contender's play.

    Following their loss to Claes and Hughes, Kessy and Fopma earned a pair of wins in the Contender's Bracket with a 21-10, 21-15 victory against Whitney Pavlik and Sheila Shaw; and then a 21-14, 21-19 win over Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen. Fopma and Kessy were eliminated in their third match as McColloch and Reeves completed a 21-19, 21-18 win.

    This spring, the top-ranked Trojans finished with a 34-2 overall record and secured the inaugural Pac-12 championship and the sport's first-ever NCAA crown. The Women of Troy completed a 30-match winning streak and defeated Florida State, 3-0, in the first NCAA title match to cement themselves as the first-ever back-to-back collegiate beach volleyball national champions. Head coach Anna Collier became the first coach to reach the 100-win mark and is 108-17 in five seasons at Troy for an .864 winning percentage. Claes and Hughes were each named AVCA All-Americans and won the first Pac-12 Pairs championship.

    For more information on the 2016 AVP Tour, visit AVP.com. For more information on the two-time national champion USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.