Jan. 6, 2014
Fans of USD Athletics on Facebook were recently given the opportunity to vote on their favorite Toreros sports moment from 2013. The results are in and the fans selected volleyball's upset of #1 ranked USC. The volleyball team dominated the voting with the upset nearly beating out the Toreros winning the West Coast Conference and reaching the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
The Toreros entered the 2013 season looking to build off their 2012 West Coast Conference championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament. The team entered 2013 unranked and facing a daunting early season schedule starting with five road matches including four ranked opponents. The Toreros created instant national buzz by going 2-1 in the Rainbow Wahine Invitational including upsetting Hawaii on their home court and nearly upsetting the defending national champion Texas Longhorns. The team then took that momentum to Iowa where they upset Iowa State and Illinois.
With the 4-1 start against elite competition, the Toreros shot up the national rankings all the way to #9 in advance of their home opener. In the meantime, the USC Trojans rose to #1 after starting their season undefeated. It set up one of the most anticipated matches in USD history as the #9 Toreros hosted the #1 Trojans in the first match of the USD Invitational. Buzz reached national levels in anticipation of the the match. It was the first time in school history USD had hosted a volleyball match featuring two teams who were both nationally ranked in the top ten. A record crowd of over 2,000 fans packed the Jenny Craig Pavilion creating an extremely loud and intimidating environment in support of the Toreros.
The Trojans opened strong as a 5-0 run sparked a 13-8 Trojans lead in the first set. However the Toreros fed off the crowd and battled back using a 7-3 run to pull even at 15 all. The teams traded points and were tied at 22 all before back-to-back kills gave the Toreros a 24-22 lead. A Chloe Ferrari kill would then send the JCP into a frenzy as the Toreros took set one 25-22.
The Trojans came back in set two and used a 9-3 run to pull away and take the set 25-20 sending the teams into the locker room at the intercession tied at one set each. The crowd was abuzz as you could feel the excitement and the belief that the Toreros could hang with the Trojans despite dropping the the second set.
The Trojans looked like they would carry their momentum from set two into the third set as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead. However the Toreros recovered and pulled within one point at 10-9. Later with the score tied at 16 all, a Chloe Ferrari kill sparked a 3-0 run and put the Toreros up for good in the set. USD would not surrender the lead going on to take set three by the score of 25-22 and putting them one set away from the upset.
The Trojans would fight for their lives and in set four again jumped out to an early lead. But once again the Toreros battled back and eventually found themselves tied at 13 all. Sandra Lozic and Katie Hoekman recorded back-to-back kills to give USD a 15-13 lead and force a USC timeout. It may have been one of the loudest moments the JCP has ever experienced as the crowd could taste the upset. The Toreros eventually pushed their lead to 21-18 and slammed the door on USC with a 4-1 finish to the match to claim a 25-19 set four victory and win the match. The crowd exploded and many rushed the court as the Toreros celebrated a monumental victory. It marked the first time the volleyball team had beaten a number one ranked opponent and just the third time in history a USD team in any sport had beaten the number one team in their sport.
The win and hot start to the season helped the Toreros reach new heights as they reached #2 in the country, the highest national ranking by any USD sport in school history. The Toreros would go on to dominate their opponents finishing the regular season 24-3 and on a 15 match winning streak. On the final day of the regular season, the Toreros captured a dramatic victory over BYU to win the West Coast Conference championship. The team was once again fueled by a raucous home crowd that actually reset the attendance record set at the USC upset match earlier in the season.
The monumentally successful regular season earned the Toreros the #9 national ranking in the NCAA Tournament and allowed them to host their first and second round matches. The Toreros continued to dominate in the postseason sweeping UC Santa Barbara and Arizona to reach the Sweet Sixteen for just the third time in program history. They traveled to Nebraska where they fought hard against the Nebraksa Cornhuskers but eventually fell three sets to zero to end their season. The Toreros finished the year a stellar 26-4 and were named #8 team in the country in the final national rankings.
The Toreros were rewarded for their efforts with a number of postseason honors. Senior middle hitter Chloe Ferrari was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and an AVCA Second-Team All American. Head Coach Jennifer Petrie was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and the AVCA Pacific South Region Coach of the Year. Senior libero C'era Oliveira was named All West Coast Conference Honorable Mention and AVCA All-American Honorable Mention. Junior opposite Alaysia Brown and senior middle hitter Katie Hoekman were named First Team All-WCC while Brown was also named an AVCA All America Honorable Mention. Rounding out the awards was freshman libero Hunter Jennings who was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
Congratulations to volleyball on their amazing season, one of the most successful seasons in school and program history. And congratulations to the team for their upset of #1 USC, the top moment in USD Athletics for 2013.