Belton, Bustamante garner USC's third Pac-12 pair of the week award

Mpu Dinani/USC Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO - Sophomore Jenna Belton and freshman Abril Bustamante swept their two matches last week to garner nationally ranked USC’s third Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week award of the opening month of the 2016 season.

The duo joins Women of Troy teammates Nicollete Martin and Allie Wheeler, and Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes in claiming three of the first four weekly honors of the inaugural season of Pac-12 beach volleyball.

Bolton and Bustamante, the Court 4 pair from Aptos and Redondo Beach, Calif., respectively, helped USC to a 4-1 triumph over No. 6 Long Beach State with a straight-sets victory over Ciana Wagner and Mykah Wilson, then swept past Teya Neff and Rachel Wilson in a 5-0 blanking of Pac-12 foe CALIFORNIA.

Excluding a 2-1 loss to teammates Martin and Wheeler in the Hawai’i Invitational pairs tournament silver-flight final on March 18, Belton and Bustamante have won their last eight matches, all in straight sets, and helped the defending AVCA national champion Women of Troy to a seven-match dual winning streak.

Half of the top six teams in this week’s AVCA Top 10 poll reside in the Pac-12 as No. 2 USC (11-2) and No. 6 ARIZONA (8-1) both climbed one spot while No. 5 UCLA (9-4) dropped one spot. CALIFORNIA (8-6) and ARIZONA STATE (7-5) are also receiving votes.

Seven of the league’s eight programs will be in action this week, highlighted by OREGON hosting STANFORD as part of its season-opening tournament this weekend in Portland and UCLA welcoming undefeated and top ranked Pepperdine on Wednesday at 3 p.m. PT in a clash of top-five teams that will be televised on Pac-12 Network.

ALSO NOMINATED: Jianna Bonomi & Katarina Schulz, ARIZ; Kwyn Johnson & Sydney Palmer, ASU.

Week of Pair of the Week
March 7 Nicolette Martin & Allie Wheeler, USC
March 14 Julie Consani & Laurel Weaver, UCLA
March 21 Kelly Claes & Sara Hughes, USC
March 28 Jenna Belton & Abril Bustamante, USC
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