The top-ranked Women of Troy will look to extend their program-record 13-match winning streak this weekend at the USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
USC (14-1) will kick off the tournament with three matches, first taking on Santa Clara (5-4) before facing off against rival and No. 6-ranked UCLA (6-6) in its second match. The team will then battle Loyola Marymount (5-7) later in the afternoon.
USC has swept Loyola Marymount twice this year, and took down the Bruins at home in similar fashion earlier this month. It will be the first time that the Women of Troy take on Santa Clara, whose program is in its second year.
Following those three matches, USC will be seeded into one of three different brackets (gold, silver or bronze) for the pairs championship to take place on Sunday.
The Women of Troy have been very successful as of late, having not dropped a match since March 8 against former No. 1-ranked Pepperdine. The Waves handed USC its only loss of the season. USC’s win against Pepperdine was only the Waves’ second loss in program history.
The Women of Troy have consistently won in dominant fashion, completing a clean 5-0 sweep in a total of 10 duels, including the last six matches in a row.
Senior Kirby Burnham, who finished as a runner-up in this tournament with graduate Stevi Robinson last year, has teamed up with freshman Sarah Hughes this season. The duo seeks to continue its success as the team’s No. 1 pair on the sand after becoming the first tandem to hit the 20-win mark this season. They currently hold an impressive 21-3 record and have brought home 13 consecutive wins.
Many say that success is contagious, and it seems to have also spread to USC’s No. 2 pair in freshman Kelly Claes and sophomore Alexa Strange, who have also reeled in five straight victories. They have gone an impressive 17-4 as a pair this season.
Unfortunately for the Women of Troy, they will be away from the familiar sands of Merle Norman Stadium, where they boast an undefeated 8-0 record this season.
In last year’s USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge, the Women of Troy captured third place after defeating Cal State Bakersfield and LMU and falling to Long Beach State.
This weekend’s tournament will be very important for the Women of Troy as the team prepares to host the first-ever Pac-12 Invitational at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, Calif. the following weekend, April 19-20.
Arizona, Arizona State, Bakersfield, Cal Poly and Loyola Marymount are among those that will participate in the six-team tournament.
This weekend, USC will hit the sand on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the pairs tournament commences on Sunday morning at 9 a.m.