Toreros wrapping up succesful fall season
Nov. 29, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012 (By Ryan Blystone, USD Public Affairs)
University of San Diego's Executive Director of Athletics, Ky Snyder, is beaming with pride. Why? The calendar is preparing to turn to December and yet USD's athletics program, winner of five consecutive West Coast Conference Commissioner's Cups, is still entrenched in its fall sports season. The men's soccer, women's volleyball and football teams will play meaningful contests this weekend. "We've had a very good fall thus far and, because we're still playing, just how good it will be is yet to be determined," Snyder said.
Men's soccer will advance to the program's first NCAA final four appearance in 20 years by winning its fourth consecutive road playoff game on Saturday, 10 a.m., at Georgetown University.
Volleyball, led by talented players such as junior Katie Hoekman opens NCAA regional play at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Michigan State at UCLA. A Torero victory win sets up a second-round match Saturday night against either UCLA or Long Island (N.Y.) University.
Football travels to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to face Marist College at 9 a.m. Saturday in a game rescheduled from Nov. 3 in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Toreros' season finale is crucial because a victory gives them back-to-back Pioneer Football League championship seasons.
The only dilemma for Snyder is that he won't be able to attend any of USD's contests in person. Instead, he and his staff will be on campus to ensure that everything runs smoothly as the NCAA Women's College Cup, an event to determine the national champion in Division I women's soccer, takes place at Torero Stadium on Friday night (semifinals) and Sunday afternoon (title game).
"I'll be checking my phone for updates on our teams, but I'll be here for the College Cup," Snyder said.
Here's an updated look at the three USD fall sports teams that are competing this weekend:
Seamus McFadden, the only head coach men's soccer has known, is in his 34th year, which means he's seen it all. It's the 20-year anniversary of his 1992 team that reached the NCAA title game against Virginia. His two most successful teams, record wise, were 19-game winners in 1986 and 1992.
Yet it's McFadden's 2012 team, one picked to win the WCC title in a preseason coaches' poll only to start the season 2-6 before realizing the expectations, that's turned out to be something special. Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal game at Georgetown puts USD among the nation's elite eight teams, the last west coast team standing and only three wins away from capturing a national championship.
"I thought we were good ... I've never really had a team in my career that has underperformed," McFadden said. "I was pulling my hair out about this team. I credit my coaching staff because they remained positive with the kids."
A mid-season system change provided a necessary offensive punch. An eight-game conference win streak propelled the Toreros to a 9-3 WCC record and the program's seventh WCC title. The postseason has been a continuation of the late-season renaissance. Hard-fought wins over Cal State Northridge (2-1, double overtime), UCLA (5-2) and Tulsa (2-1) have come in spite of having to rally from behind each time.
Sophomore midfielder Connor Brandt, who had only one goal in limited regular-season action, has provided scoring depth on a senior-laden team with a goal in each playoff win.
"We've gelled as a team, it just took awhile," Brandt said. "We've worked really hard and we're getting the job done. It's amazing to see where we were earlier this season and where we are now."
A victory Saturday puts USD (14-8) into the NCAA Men's College Cup in Hoover, Alabama.
Kandiss Anderson only needed one more class to graduate from USD. She could have done it and moved on with good memories as a student-athlete to show for it. But it wasn't going to be that easy to just move on. She wanted one more go-around as a member of USD's most consistently successful team sport.
The redshirt senior libero made the right decision. She'll complete her degree soon, but she's also been part of another WCC championship season and starting Friday, she's a member of the program's 16th team to compete in the NCAA Tournament.
This year's squad, Jen Petrie said, is one of the deepest she's had since becoming USD head coach in 1999. The depth absorbed the injury loss of one of its standout players, junior Chloe Ferrari, by defeating BYU in a five-set match to earn a share of the WCC title.
"I'm really proud of them and I think it's a huge cog of confidence when you beat a Top 20 program at this point in the season and you've shuffled the lineup," Petrie said.
The conference schedule was challenging enough for USD. A deeper, more competitive WCC was noticed too when the NCAA Tournament bracket featured six WCC playoff-bound teams.
"I've seen the conference go through cycles when we'd get one or two into the tournament, but to be WCC champion this year when six teams get in? That can't be overlooked," Petrie said.
Anderson said she believes in her teammates. She believes in her team's desire to "dig deep," to "compete on every point," and ability "to find a way to win." The win over BYU is a good primer for what's ahead for USD (21-6), beginning with Michigan State Friday and possibly UCLA on Saturday.
"We treat it as a new season," Petrie said of the playoffs. "The players had a break at Thanksgiving, got some rest and then we watched the (NCAA) selection show together. The players were anxious to get back in the gym and ready for this next part of their season. Based on how they've competed in practices this week there is definitely a whole new level of intensity."
No one ever said it was easy to win a championship. Winning back-to-back titles? That's a feat that requires a lot to go right. Yet here come the Toreros (7-3 overall, 6-1 PFL) only a road win away from claiming a second straight PFL championship. The weather isn't expected to be Southern California friendly at kickoff time, but Coach Ron Caragher's advice to his team?
"It's a difficult challenge to win on the road and the weather might be different, but we know this is an opportunity to win our last game of the season and win a share of a championship," Caragher said. "We know we're playing a good team, too. Our games with Marist in the past have been close and we know they'll be up for it. We need to go into this game with the attitude of embracing the challenges."
Caragher noted the importance of his team not turning the ball over -- Marist leads the PFL in takeaways -- an effective running game and a strong defensive effort with an eye on creating turnovers, too, as key ingredients for a successful USD outcome. "We know what's at stake," he said.
Courtesy of Ryan T. Blystone
2015-16 Highlight Video
All the top plays from 2015-16
Jordan Angus - Male Torero of the Year
Angus reflects on his time at USD
Malina Hood - Female Torero of the Year
Malina Hood looks back at her USD career
NCAA Tournament Preview
San Diego faces Vanderbilt in first round
2016 Celebration of Excellence
Behind the Scenes at the COE
Toreros Participate in Linda Vista Parade
Toreros Participate in Linda Vista Parade
Men's Tennis senior Day
The Toreros host LMU and Pepperdine Saturday and Sunday
Softball WCC Preview
The Toreros host Saint Mary's Saturday and Sunday
2016 San Diego Crew Classic
The Toreros show speed against the nation's top crews
The Torero Baseball Experience
Kris Bryant & Brian Matusz reflect on their time at USD
MBB Senior Night
Jito Kok and Duda Sanadze prepare for the final home game
USD Baseball Season Preview
Season starts at No. 3 Vanderbilt February 19
USD Softball Season Preview
Season starts February 12
USD travels to No. 9 UCLA Friday
Toreros Host Kentucky Saturday
USD looks to defend home court against No. 22 Kentucky
Toreros Host Pepperdine & LMU
USD returns home after four-game road trip
Toreros Team Up with PYBL
Men's Basketball hosts annual clinic for Challenged Division
Men's Tennis 2016
USD opens at home vs UC Irvine and UCSD Saturday
Preview of USD women's basketball WCC opener vs. BYU.
City Championship Highlights
Relive the Toreros' Upset over SDSU at Petco Park
Toreros to Host Hope International
The 9-1 Toreros will host Hope International in their final game before WCC play
Toreros Stun Aztecs at Petco
Postgame reaction and press conferences
Toreros Return Home
USD will host Bethesda before Sunday's City Championship at Petco Park
Men's Basketball Season Tickets
Starting as Low as $99
Pono Keni and Coach Lindsey talk about Saturday's Senior Day game against Butler
Coach Fisher and forward Maya Hood talk about Tuesday's home-opener against CSUN
Coach Smith and Brett Bailey preview the season opener at USC
Jonah Hodges and Dale Lindsey talk about Jonah's return and preview Davidson game
San Diego Fall Classic Preview
Coach Dagman previews the San Diego Fall Classic
USD's Women's Basketball team will start their season at Nevada this weekend
USD Men's Basketball - The Origins (1955-1973)
A Glance at the Beginnings of Torero Hoops
Coach Lindsey and Jeff Starr preview Campbell
Coach Lindsey and Jereke Armstrong talk about the season so far
WCC Media Day
Behind the scenes with Men's and Women's Basketball at WCC media day
Dale Lindsey and Anthony Lawrence on USD's 45-14 win
Anthony Lawrence and Coach Lindsey preview game vs. Warner
Torero Community Service
USD Athletics helps out at Father Joe's Village in downtown San Diego
Men's Basketball Camp Update
Kok and Carter talk about the upcoming season
Toreros host Bulldogs for Homecoming game
Toreros look for 4th straight win
Pack the Stadium Night
ITA All-American's Preview
Petronijevic, Angus, & Vittek Prepare
USD Looks to Extend Home Win Streak
Toreros First True Road Game of 2015
CSUN and UCSB Preview
Toreros Look to Extend Win Streak
Aztec Invite Recap
Both Squads Finish Second
Toreros Take on Cross-town Rival
Highlights from 45-21 win
2015 Home Opener
Previewing Western New Mexico
Volleyball Tournament Preview
A preview of the USD Tournament
Men's Soccer Season Opener
Previewing No. 16 Cal
Training Camp Update
Coach Lindsey Recaps the First Two Weeks
2015 WSOC Preview
A brief preview of the 2015 Toreros.
- SCHEDULESDownload Schedules: Add to calendar