USC Alumna April Ross and Alix Klineman Crowned AVP Manhattan Beach Open Champions
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Fresh off winning beach volleyball gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games, three-time USC women's volleyball All-American and now three-time Olympic medalist April Ross and partner Alix Klineman (Stanford) won the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) Gold Series Manhattan Beach Open on Sunday, Aug. 22.
The prestigious MBO victory marks the 11th all-time AVP win for the Klineman-Ross pairing. The duo won all three AVP tourneys in 2020, three championships in 2019, and four events in 2018.
Ross claims her fourth Manhattan Beach Open title; her second with Klineman (2018). She also won the MBO in 2015 with Jennifer Fopma and in 2014 with Kerri Walsh Jennings. It is Ross's 40th-career AVP victory and represents the 59th individual Trojan AVP women's win; the 45th event won by at least one female USC athlete. Between Ross and USC beach All-Americans Kelly Claes, and Sara Hughes, at least one USC player has won 24 of the last 43 AVP events since the 2015 season.
Ross and Klineman went 5-0 on Manhattan Beach sand and dropped just one set all weekend. The top-seeded duo went three sets to take down 16th-seeded Trojans Falyn Fonoimoana and Geena Urango to open the tournament. Klineman-Ross then defeated ninth-seeded Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss. They swept the fourth-seeded pair of Hughes and Brandi Wilkerson and then swept the No. 2-seed of Claes and Sarah Sponcil to advance to the title match. There, Ross and Klineman defeated the third-seeded pair of Emily Day and Betsi Flint.
In the men's tournament, Trojan Tri Bourne and partner Trevor Crabb emerged from the contender's bracket and exacted revenge for an earlier loss by beating the top-seeded pair of Chase Budinger and Casey Patterson in the MBO final. It was the first time that two Trojans claimed MBO championships in the same year and was Bourne's fifth-career AVP victory.
In addition to Ross, Hughes, Claes, Fonoimoana, and Urango, six other Women of Troy competed in the 2021 Manhattan Beach Open for a total of 11 Trojans in the women's tourney, nearly 23 percent of all women's athletes in the MBO field. Among those competitors were All-American alumna Terese Cannon and current Trojan All-Americans Tina Graudina, Megan Kraft, and Julia Scoles; and All-Pac-12 performers Hailey Harward and Hailey Harward.
The USC beach volleyball team captured the program's fourth national championship (third NCAA crown) with a win over crosstown rival UCLA in the NCAA Championship dual. Under second-year head coach Dain Blanton, USC went 30-4 and had winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches during the season. The Trojans finished as the Pac-12 runner-up and produced the league's Pair of the Year in Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft. Graudina was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Kraft was the conference's Freshman of the Year. Both were named first-team AVCA All-Americans and were joined on the first team by Julia Scoles and Sammy Slater.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.