It’s been a good last few days to be a member of the USD women’s soccer team.
On a rainy and cold evening on Nov. 4, with nearly 1,800 fans in attendance at Torero Stadium and a West Coast Conference game against seventh-ranked Santa Clara being nationally televised on ESPN U, the Toreros acheived something they’d never done previously in their 18-year history.
They won the WCC championship.
The Toreros’ 3-0 win over Santa Clara, on the strength of goals by Mariah Butera, Meghan O’Rourke and Dani Russell, assists on each goal by Stephanie Ochs and the sixth shutout of the season by goalkeeper Courtney Parsons, earned USD a share of the title with Pepperdine. The victory improved the team’s season win streak to seven — all coming after a 1-0 WCC-opening loss at Pepperdine on Oct. 6.
The win officially clinched an NCAA Tournament berth for USD (12-7 overall, 7-1 WCC) when the team selections were announced on Monday. The Toreros, who earned their seventh bid and fifth in a row since 2007 during ninth-year head coach Ada Greenwood’s tenure, open postseason play this Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. against host UC Irvine.
The accolades continued when several Toreros earned All-WCC selections and individual honors in an announcement on Tuesday.
Senior striker Stephanie Ochs, who leads the Toreros with eight goals and 11 assists this season, was named the WCC Player of the Year. Ochs (pictured) is the first Torero women’s soccer player to earn this honor. Of her offensive output this season, 13 points, including a conference-high nine assists, came in WCC play.
Senior defender Natalie Garcia, who prior to the season was a member of the Mexican National Team’s entry in the Women’s World Cup, was named WCC Defender of the Year. The Toreros gave up only four goals in WCC play and had four shutouts. Garcia is the third Torero to win this award, following Brittany Cameron (2008) and Dawn Birdsall (1995).
First-team WCC honorees for USD were Ochs, Garcia, senior midfielder Elissa Magracia. Parsons was named to the WCC second team. O’Rourke, Russell and Erika Wesley were WCC honorable mention. Butera and O’Rourke were both named to the WCC All-Freshman team.
“I am very happy for all of our girls who received an award,” Greenwood said. “The WCC is one of the top conferences in the nation and to receive an award from this league it is truly an honor.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
USD Athletics contributed to this story and the photo.