Dec. 4, 2012
- by Ryan Blystone, USD Public Affairs
Satara Murray, Kealia Ohai and the rest of University of North Carolina women's soccer team returned to Chapel Hill, N.C., late Sunday, but days later, they're undoubtedly basking in the afterglow of what was accomplished on their business trip to San Diego. Murray and Ohai each scored a goal in the Tar Heels' 4-1 victory over Penn State on Dec. 2 to capture an NCAA national championship.
"This is the first time we've both won a national championship," said Murray, referring to her and Ohai. "It's mind-blowing to win a championship, especially your first. I know I'll always remember it. We'll always remember winning it at the University of San Diego."
Some 2,500 miles west of Chapel Hill, USD administrators from the athletics department and other campus entities likely share Murray's sentiment in terms of the end result.
That's because Torero Stadium hosted USD's first national championship event last weekend, the NCAA Women's College Cup. Four teams -- North Carolina, Penn State, Stanford and Florida State -- arrived last Wednesday, attended a championship banquet at San Diego's Hall of Champions, played exciting overtime semifinal games in rainy weather Friday night and then UNC and Penn State played for the title. The two-day attendance total was 14,219 for three competitive soccer games. Ticket-holders also attended a Fan Fest prior to each game day, weathered the conditions Friday in good spirits with ponchos and umbrellas and were rewarded with a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon for the finale.
"I'm really proud that we were able to pull off all aspects of the College Cup," said Shaney Fink, USD's senior associate director of athletics and College Cup director. "The goal was to provide a championship feel in every aspect of what we did, and I believe that we were successful."
The event, which Fink said was in the planning stage for more than a year and utilized more than 250 USD and community volunteers, was successful because of strong coordination between athletics and several campus departments.
"Across campus we had tremendous support from everyone to make this event a success," said Ky Snyder, USD's executive director of athletics. "This was a campus community effort and everyone deserves to be applauded for working so well together and the cooperation along the way. I'm certainly proud of everyone involved."
Hosting the College Cup, Snyder said, brought USD priceless national marketing exposure. Games were shown on ESPN's networks, spirited and vocal fans were present --former women's soccer stars Mia Hamm (North Carolina graduate) and Brandi Chastain attended -- and Southern California soccer community members came out in droves. "ESPN's coverage of the championship was fantastic. All of the visitors to campus enjoyed the experience," Snyder said. "The athletics director from North Carolina attended mass Sunday and he texted me when he got out to say how beautiful the campus is. He said he'd seen pictures, but experiencing it put it in a whole new perspective. That's what is good about these events. It exposes people to the campus that normally would not. If we continue to do this, it can only add to our national reputation."
Ada Greenwood, USD women's soccer coach, had attended previous College Cups that were hosted mainly on the east coast. He said he felt confident that USD and Torero Stadium would be an ideal host site. He approached USD athletics administrators with the idea and it quickly evolved.
Torero Stadium isn't new to hosting big soccer events. It's been the site for multiple U.S. women's national team, Major League Soccer (L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA) and international exhibitions. Greenwood said USD, if given the chance, "would do it as first class as we could so that everyone would feel they were attending a great event."
"We couldn't have asked for a more special environment for soccer fans or for those who came to the university for the first time," Greenwood said. "Even with the weather challenges on Friday the fans were still there in the stands. Everyone I spoke with during the weekend was highly complimentary of USD and how well it was run. Shaney and (Athletics Facilities and Operations Director) Josh (Lawrence) put in an unbelievable amount of work into this weekend. I'm sure neither of them got a lot of sleep last week, but my compliments to both of them."
The university's success in hosting College Cup raises an obvious question. Will USD host future NCAA national championship events? Snyder said USD is slated to host a NCAA golf regional in 2015 and Fowler Park, USD's renovated ballpark, is designed to host NCAA Regional and Super Regional events.
"We'll continue to evaluate opportunities for hosting NCAA championships," Snyder said. "Some are selected well into the future, while others come up year to year. We will go after those that make the most sense for campus and our staff."
Torero Timeout with Summer Mason
USD junior women's soccer player takes a timeout during a study break
On Saturday We Dominate
Big wins for both USD Football and USD Volleyball Saturday afternoon
Torero Timeout with Henry Lander
Men's soccer sophomore Henry Lander takes a Timeout between classes
Football: Week Ten
Toreros gear up for home game against Drake
Men's and women's basketball teamed up to host a Halloween event
Football: Week Nine
Big day in the weight room for the Toreros
Seamus McFadden's Legacy
39 years in review by former players and coaches
Alumni, staff and the San Diego community gathered to celebrate Men's Soccer Head Coach Seamus McFadden
Sixth Man Night: The Event
Recap video of the October 12 fundraiser event
Women's Basketball: WCC Hoops Tip-Off
Coach Fisher and Maya Hood attend media day in Las Vegas
Men's Basketball: New Heights
Men's basketball celebrates the third era of the program
Alumni and family gathered together for an eventful Homecoming weekend
Torero Timeout with Kristen Gengenbacher
Take a Timeout with the senior setter at her house in South Mission Beach
Football: Week Seven
Football preps for this Saturday's Homecoming game
Torero Timeout with Jonathan Petersen
USD Football's Petersen strolls through Belmont Park during his bye week
USD Basketball: Practice No. 1
Check out what practice looks like for the Torero ballers
Football: Week Five
Toreros prep for big game against Dayton
Football: FaceTime with Lion's Jamal Agnew
USD Head Coach Dale Lindsey congratulates Torero alum Agnew on his first NFL touchdown
Football: Brian Fogarty PFL Classic
From tailgates to touchdowns, we got it all
Football: Week Four
Hard work follows these Toreros on and off the field
Cross Country: USD Invite
Missed Saturday's race? Don't stress, we have it right here
Football: Week Three
Sights and sounds of USD Football at work
USD Invite: Take a Lap
Men's and women's cross country host the USD Invite: the only home race for the Toreros
Football: Week Two
Football hard at work for their first away game at UC Davis
Three Games - One Day
Ole Weekend was one to remember for USD Athletics
Football: Week One
Toreros preps for their home opener against Western New Mexico
2017 Football Season Preview
Head Coach Dale Lindsey and Senior Ray Clark discuss upcoming season
USD Athletics Highlight Video 2016-17
Don't miss the best highlights from this past year in USD Athletics