Women’s Beach Volleyball | May 22, 2023
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – USC beach volleyball All-Americans Kelly Cheng (Fullerton, Calif.) and Sara Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) collected five wins and dropped just one set to claim the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) Pro Series Huntington Beach Open at the Huntington Beach Pier on Sunday, May 21.
It is the third AVP win for the USC duo since Cheng and Hughes reunited to finish the 2022 season and their fourth overall. They won their first AVP crown in 2017 at the Chicago Open and then claimed titles at the 2022 Huntington Beach Open and the 2023 New Orleans Open.
The win by Cheng-Hughes represents the 72nd and 73rd individual Trojan AVP women’s victories and is the 54th event won by at least one female USC athlete all-time. At least one USC alumna has now been crowned in 40 of the last 64 AVP events since the 2014 season.
Co-coached by seventh-year USC assistant coach Gustavo Rocha, Cheng and Hughes completed a 21-18, 21-18 win over the duo of Betsi Flint and USC All-American Julia Scoles (Mooresville, N.C.) in the championship match. It was the second time the pairs met each other on the weekend. Cheng-Hughes also defeated Flint-Scoles in the third round of play by a 21-14, 21-18 count.
As the top-seeded pair, Cheng-Hughes opened the tournament against Maddie Anderson and Molly Turner and raced through a 21-8, 21-11 win to move ahead. In the second round, the Trojan pair knocked off Larissa Maestrini and Liliane Maestrini, 21-16, 21-14, to reach round three against Flint-Scoles.
In their only three-set match, Cheng-Hughes took down USC All-American Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y.) and her partner Sarah Sponcil, 21-19, 17-21, 23-21, to reach the championship match.
All-told, seven Women of Troy represented USC in the Huntington Beach main draw. Besides Cheng, Hughes, Cannon, and Scoles, All-Americans Megan Kraft(San Diego, Calif) and Hailey Harward (Phoenix, Ariz.), and Geena Urango (Los Alamitos, Calif.) were also participants. Scoles took second and Cannon earned a third-place finish. Kraft adds a seventh-place finish to her career numbers while Harward and Urango each earned ninth-place finishes.
On the men’s side, USC men’s volleyball alumnus Andy Benesh (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) teamed…
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