Ross-Klineman Pairing Claims AVP Wilson Cup Title
LONG BEACH, Calif. – USC women's volleyball All-American and two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and partner Alix Klineman (Stanford) won the AVP (American Volleyball Professionals) Wilson Cup in the shadows of the Aquarium of the Pacific on Sunday, July 26. The Wilson Cup is the second in a three-weekend series of AVP events as part of the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series.
The victory is the ninth all-time for the Ross-Klineman pairing, which also won the AVP's Monster Hydro Cup last weekend. The duo won three AVP championships in 2019 and four events in 2018. For Ross as an individual, the Wilson Cup title is her 38th-career victory. It also represents the 57th individual Trojan AVP women's win and marks the 44th 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 22 of the last 40 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 to comprise the 2020 AVP Champions Cup Series. The new format awards six pairs with slots in main draw events with two more berths available through a one-day qualifying tournament.
Seeded No. 1 in the main draw, Ross and Klineman opened the tournament with a three-set win, 21-11, 14-21, 15-10, over the eighth-seeded qualifier pair of Corinne Quiggle (Pepperdine) and USC All-American Allie Wheeler. Wheeler and Quiggle finished in seventh place; Wheeler's highest AVP finish since taking fifth three times in 2018.
In another first-round match, as the fourth seed, Claes and her partner Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) defeated Kelley Kolinske (Pepperdine) and Emily Stockman (Wichita State) in three sets, 21-17, 17-21, 15-11. Claes-Sponcil drew Ross-Klineman in the second round and went three sets with the eventual champion, but Ross and Klineman took a 12-21, 21-19, 15-11 win to advance to the semifinals.
Ross-Klineman produced a pair of straight-set victories in its next two contests to secure the Wilson Cup. In the semifinal, the duo defeated the seventh-seeded tandem of Emily Day (Loyola Marymount) and Lauren Fendrick (UCLA), 21-17, 21-14. They then faced the world's top-ranked pair of Melissa Humana-Paredes (York/Canada) and Sarah Pavan (Nebraska) in the championship match where they claimed a 21-15, 21-19 victory against the Canadian duo.
Among other Trojans in action, Hughes and partner Brandie Wilkerson (York) dropped their first-round match to Day-Fendrick. In the contender's bracket, the got a pair of victories, including a three-set win over Claes-Sponcil, and returned to the main draw semifinal. In the semis, Hughes-Wilkerson was defeated in straight sets by Humana-Paredes and Pavan. As the second seed in the qualifier, USC All-American Terese Cannon and partner Kelly Reeves (UCLA) won one match but fell to Quiggle and Wheeler.
In the men's tournament, Trojan Tri Bourne and partner Trevor Crabb were seeded fourth and advanced to the semifinal round for the second straight weekend.
Next weekend (August 1-2), the AVP will close the three-weekend Champions Cup Series with The Porsche Cup. Matches will be shown live on Amazon Prime Video and the NBC Sports Network. 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.