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Athletics Roundup: Volleyball in NCAA Tourney; Football, Basketball

 

Athletics Roundup: Volleyball in NCAA Tourney; Football, Basketball

The University of San Diego women’s volleyball team will play Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the opener of its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after earning an at-large postseason berth during the Nov. 25 NCAA Tournament Selection Show.

The Toreros (16-12) will take on the Mustangs (25-2) in the first round this Friday at 6 p.m. Pacific at the Galen Center at USC, the host site for this tournament regional. The winner will take on the winner of Friday's second first-round match between No. 11 USC and Samford on Saturday at 7 p.m.
 
This is not only USD’s ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, but also the Toreros’ 17th in the past 18 years and 21st in the past 23 years.

This year’s team, led by senior middle blocker Addie Picha (218 kills, 151 blocks), sophomore Roxie Wiblin (281 kills, 211 digs), junior setter Anna Newsome and junior outside hitter Megan Jacobsen and a solid group of freshman contributors in outside hitter Katie Lukes, setter Laura Madill, and libero/defensive specialist Kelli Barry, are ready to start the postseason portion of their fall season.

Head Coach Jen Petrie, who is in her 20th season (16th as head coach) at USD, enters this year’s tournament having taken a USD team to the NCAA Tournament’s second round nine times and the Sweet 16 three times.
 
The Toreros head to USC for the second consecutive postseason and third time in the past four years. USD fell to the Trojans 3-2 in the second round of last year's tournament and dropped a 3-0 decision in the second round in 2015. In the 2018 regular season, USC swept USD, 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-20) at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

But for USD to potentially get another shot at USC they’ll first take on the Mustangs, who captured the Big West Conference title outright for the second straight year earlier this month. The Toreros are 10-6 all-time against Cal Poly and have won the past four meetings, sweeping the last two. The most recent contest was Sept. 8, 2012, with USD winning 3-0.

Next Matches: NCAA Tournament: USD vs. Cal Poly, Friday, 6 p.m., Galen Center (USC); USD-Cal Poly winner vs. USC-Samford winner, Saturday, 7 p.m., Galen Center.

Football

A very successful USD football season came to an unfortunate early postseason conclusion in a 49-30 FCS first-round playoff loss at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., on Nov. 24.

Despite scoring 20 unanswered points late in the third quarter, the Toreros (9-3) were unable to slow down Nicholls State’s high-powered offense.

It was all Nicholls State in the first half. On their opening drive, the Colonels (9-3) went 80 yards on two plays to take a 7-0 lead. The Toreros answered on a 10-yard strike from Torero quarterback Anthony Lawrence to freshman tight end Dalton Kincaid. The Colonels, however, scored touchdowns on each of their next four drives and held a 42-10 lead early in the third quarter.

San Diego found its rhythm offensively in the third quarter when Lawrence connected with Kincaid on a 38-yard touchdown pass, the first of 20 unanswered points by USD.

On the next drive, Terrence Smith aired out a 27-yard pass to Christian Brooks — his first of the season — to put the Toreros on the 8-yard-line. Lawrence then found Kincaid for his third touchdown of the day and USD closed to within 42-23.

The Toreros' momentum carried over to the defense as Cassius Johnson intercepted Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade. Lawrence connected with Michael Bandy for 28 yards, before finding Kincaid again for 17 yards to make it a two-score game. 

But Fourcade had a 13-yard run to make it 49-30 and put the game away for the host.

Lawrence, named Pioneer Football League’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, finished 30-for-56 for 322 yards, four touchdowns to cap off a historic career for the Toreros. Lawrence finishes holding school records for passing yards (12,628), passing attempts (1,465), passing completions (941), touchdown passes (120), and total offense (12,681). He also finishes his career ranked in the top-10 all-time in the FCS for career passing yards, touchdown passes and career passing efficiency.

Bandy paced the Toreros with nine catches for 144 yards but Kincaid’s four-touchdown day came on six catches for 87 yards.

Michael Armstead, named the PFL’s Special Teams Player of the Year, was electric for the Toreros in the return game on Saturday. He had five kickoff returns for 167 yards and a long of 64 yards. He added a punt return of 37 yards and three receptions for 43 yards to collect 247 all-purpose yards.
 
Bandy, a junior, capped a remarkable year, finishing with 1,698 receiving yards to set school and PFL records. He’s also fifth all-time in the FCS for receiving yards in a season.

Men’s Basketball

A pair of home nonconference victories, a 70-64 triumph against Pac-12 Conference foe Colorado on Nov. 20 and 76-58 against Jackson State on Nov. 24 has the USD men’s basketball team on a three-game win streak and a 5-1 record to start the season.

Isaiah Pineiro scored 27 points (15 in the second half), Olin Carter III had 22 and the Toreros erased an eight-point deficit in the second half en route to the victory against the visiting Buffaloes.

USD had a 17-9 run over a 6:19 span to go from a 45-37 deficit to a 54-54 tie. It helped, too, that the Toreros finished the game 18 of 21 from the free-throw line. USD was eight for eight during the second-half run.

Yauhen Massalski also contributed to USD’s win over Colorado with 14 rebounds, seven points, four assists and three blocks.

Against Jackson State, Pineiro had 26 points and nine rebounds, Isaiah Wright scored 20 and had five assists and Carter chipped in 12 points to lead USD to the victory.

Next Games: USD at Ole Miss, Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., Oxford, Miss.; USD hosts Long Beach State, Saturday, 7 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Women’s Basketball

The USD women’s basketball team hosted a four-team Thanksgiving tournament in the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Nov. 23-24 and came away with one high-scoring win and fell to the No. 18 ranked team in the nation in the other contest.

In the first game, Patricia Brossmann was one point shy of her career-high to pace San Diego to an 83-82 victory over Cleveland State on Nov. 23. The Toreros held off a late surge by the Vikings in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Five Toreros put up double-digits led by Brossmann with 20 points, who also tied for second on the team in rebounds with 8. Myah Pace (16), Sydney Shepard (14), Madison Pollock (13) and Leticia Soares (11) all contributed to USD's highest scoring game of the season.

The Toreros then returned to the JCP court on Saturday to face No. 18 Cal-Berkeley. An even game after two quarters came undone as Cal outscored the hosts 22-8 in the third quarter en route to a 70-53 triumph over USD.

Pollack, a junior, led USD with a career-high 19 points, Sydney Hunter had 13 and Brossmann scored eight in the loss. The Toreros’ record fell to 2-3 on the young season.

Next Games: USD hosts San Diego State, Wednesday, 6 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion; USD hosts Dartmouth, Saturday, 2 p.m., JCP. 

For More USD Athletics Information

Keep up with all USD Athletics news, scores and information at its newly redesigned website. Follow the Toreros on social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The USD women's volleyball team has earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. They'll face Cal Poly Friday at USC's Galen Center in a first-round match.The USD women's volleyball team has earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. They'll face Cal Poly Friday at USC's Galen Center in a first-round match.

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