April Ross Takes AVP Manhattan Beach Crown with Jennifer Fopma|
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Aug. 17, 2015
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- For the fourth time this summer, a Trojan woman claimed the title on the AVP tour. This time, Olympic silver medalist and three-time USC All-American April Ross earned her third crown of 2015 and the 23rd of her career when she and partner Jennifer Fopma joined forces to win the Manhattan Beach Open championship on Sunday, Aug. 16, at the Manhattan Beach Pier. Ross, who successfully defended her title from a year ago, won with Kerri Walsh Jennings, has now won 10 of the last 11 AVP tour stops.
Earlier this summer, Ross and Walsh Jennings won the New Orleans Open (May 24). USC All-American Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day won the New York City Open (July 19), and Ross and Fopma took home the Seattle Open crown on Aug. 9. On the men's side, Trojan alum Tri Bourne and partner John Hyden fell just short of the Manhattan Beach title, as they lost, 21-19, 21-17, to Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the final.
The Manhattan Beach Open featured a 32-team women's draw that included four Trojan alumnae in addition to Ross. Fopma and Ross defeated Kessy and Day in the semifinals, 21-16, 23-21, before they upended Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp, 21-15, 26-24, in the title match. Former Trojan indoor player and USC's first beach volleyball scholarship winner Geena Urango took a ninth-place tie finish with partner Angela Bensend, and current Trojan juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes also ended up in the ninth-place tie.
In the qualifier, senior Alexa Strange won a match with partner Lilla Frederick (Pepperdine) but fell short of making the main draw. Former Trojan indoor player Staci Venski, former beach volleyball player Lauren Sieckmann, and incoming beach freshman Abril Bustamente each also played in the qualifier.
The AVP tour continues in two weeks and will make stops in Chicago (Aug. 28-30) and Cincinnati (Sept. 4-6), before concluding the season with the AVP Championships at Huntington Beach (Sept. 11-13).
The No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team went undefeated (28-0) to claim the program's first team championship and the 123rd overall team national title in the school's history. Claes and Hughes completed the collegiate season with a 44-3 record and won the AVCA Pairs Championship to mark the third straight year that a Trojan pair won the national crown.
For information on the USC beach volleyball team, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeachVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.