Sand Volleyball: USC's Burnham-Hughes dominate inaugural Pac-12 Invitational

SANTA MONICA — USC senior Kirby Burnham, a former Newport Harbor High standout, and freshman Sarah Hughes, a former Mater Dei star and Costa Mesa native, swept through four matches to win the inaugural Pac-12 Invitational pairs bracket championship in sand volleyball on Sunday at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

Burnham-Hughes, USC's No. 1 pairs team, won their fourth tournament pairs title of 2014 en route to upping their overall record to 34-3 this season, including winning their last 26 matches. Burnham, a 2013 All-American, won last year's AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship pairs title with Stevi Robinson.

After getting a bye in the tourney's first round, Burnham-Hughes beat Cal State Bakersfield's Sydney Haynes-Danika Youngblood in the second round, 21-4, 21-9, Arizona State's Whitney Follette-Macey Gardner in the quarterfinals, 21-8, 21-12, and fellow Trojans Kelly Claes-Alexa Strange in the semifinals, 21-17, 21-12, before posting a 21-12, 21-17 victory over Arizona's Madi Kingdon-Ronni Lewis in the final.

On Friday, top-ranked USC won the team portion of the Pac-12 Invitational by recording 5-0 sweeps over Cal State Bakersfield, Arizona State and then Loyola Marymount in the final.

USC travels to Tucson, Ariz., to face host Arizona and visitor Boise State in a pair of regular season-ending team duals on Saturday.

Burnham and Hughes will compete in the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championships May 4 at Gulf Shores, Ala.

— From staff reports

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