April Ross and Alix Klineman Win AVP Monster Hydro Cup
LONG BEACH, Calif. – USC women's volleyball All-American and two-time Olympic medalist April Ross partnered with Alix Klineman (Stanford) to win the AVP (American Volleyball Professionals) Monster Hydro Cup in the shadows of the Aquarium of the Pacific on Sunday, July 19.
The win is the eighth all-time for the Ross-Klineman pairing, which won three AVP championships in 2019 and four events in 2018. For Ross as an individual, the Hydro Cup title is her 37th-career victory. It also represents the 56th individual Trojan AVP women's win and marks the 43rd event won by at least one female USC athlete. Between Ross and USC Beach All-Americans Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes, at least one USC player has won 21 of the last 39 AVP events since the 2015 season.
With the initial 2020 AVP season cancelled due to the COVID-19 world pandemic, the organization pivoted to hosting three events in Long Beach as part of the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series. The new format awards six pairs with slots in the main draw with two more slots available through a one-day qualifying tournament.
As the top seed in the tourney, Ross-Klineman dropped just one set en route to claiming the weekend's title. The duo took out the eighth-seeded pair of Traci Callahan (Concordia) and Crissy Jones (Washington) in the opening round, 21-18, 21-13. In the second round of the winner's bracket, Ross-Klineman defeated the fourth-seeded duo of Hughes and Brandie Wilkerson (York/Canada) in straight sets, 21-19, 21-17.
In the semifinals, Ross-Klineman faced off against the world's No. 1-ranked duo of Melissa Humana-Paredes (York) and Sarah Pavan (Nebraska). Ross and Klineman dropped the first set, 21-14, but came back to win, 21-15, 15-12, and advanced to the championship match for a rematch against Hughes-Wilkerson.
In the title match, Ross-Klineman erased a four-point deficit down the stretch to claim a 24-22 win in the opening frame. They held off Hughes and Wilkerson in the second set for a 21-19 win to hoist the Hydro Cup championship. It was the first appearance in a title match for the Hughes-Wilkerson pairing. Hughes owns three-career AVP titles and collected her fourth second-place finish. For Wilkerson, still seeking her first AVP title, the second-place finish was the third in her career.
Among other Trojans in action, Claes paired with Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) and advanced to the semifinals where they fell to Hughes-Wilkerson in straight sets. USC All-American Terese Cannon teamed with Kelly Reeves (UCLA) to win a pair of matches in the qualifier and All-American Allie Wheeler won a qualifier match with Corinne Quiggle (Pepperdine) before falling to Cannon-Reeves. In the men's bracket, Trojan Tri Bourne and partner Trevor Crabb were seeded sixth and advanced to the Sunday semifinal.
Next weekend (July 24-26), the AVP will host the Wilson Cup in Long Beach and conclude the three-weekend tournament season with the Porsche Cup on August 1-2. For more information on the AVP, please visit AVP.com.
The Women of Troy went 6-5 in 2020 before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of USC's losses were by narrow 3-2 decisions under Dain Blanton in his first year with the Trojans. A three-time national champion, USC finished as the NCAA runner-up in 2019 and claimed the program's third Pac-12 Championship with a dramatic 3-2 win over crosstown rival UCLA. 11 different Women of Troy have earned the program's 20 AVCA All-America certificates including returning junior Sammy Slater (2019).
For more information on the three-time national champion USC beach volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.