Inside USD

Torero Teams Balance Thanksgiving, Sports

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving arrives this week and for many that means enjoying home-cooked food, spending time with family and friends and having fun.

If you’re a fall student-athlete at the University of San Diego there’s definitely some fun and some turkey ahead, but there’s another side — a take-care-of-business side.

The men’s soccer team, which is coming off two strong NCAA playoff road wins against Cal State Northridge and UCLA last weekend, have reached the round of 16. The 2012 West Coast Conference champion Toreros (13-8 overall) travel to Oklahoma to play the University of Tulsa at 3 p.m. (Pacific time) on Sunday. This is the deepest the program has gone in the NCAA playoffs since reaching the 1992 NCAA championship game. Key players for veteran head coach Seamus McFadden’s team include Dan Delgado, Patrick Wallen, Connor Brandt (pictured, top left) and Sergio Lopez.

The women’s volleyball team, which defeated Brigham Young University in a five-set match to earn a share of the WCC title last Saturday, will learn its NCAA postseason destination this Sunday, 1 p.m., when the regional playoff sites and brackets are announced. Regional (first- and second-round) matches run Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The Toreros, who went 13-3 in WCC play, enter the postseason with a 21-6 mark under head coach Jennifer Petrie and a deep team that includes top players such as Katie Hoekman, Carrie Baird, Rachel Alvey and Alaysia Brown.

While soccer and volleyball have conference titles in their possession and postseason thoughts on their mind, Coach Ron Caragher and USD’s football team continue preparations for its Dec. 1 Pioneer Football League season finale at Marist. The game, kicking off at 9 a.m. (Pacific time), was scheduled for Nov. 3, but was postponed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast. Marist, located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., stands between the Toreros and a share of the PFL title. Drake and Butler are both 7-1. USD (6-1 PFL, 7-3 overall) needs a win to give the program its second straight championship.

Meanwhile, USD’s men and women’s basketball seasons are underway. Both programs have nonconference games near Thanksgiving on the calendar.

The men’s team, coming off a 2-2 performance in the NUCDF Basketball Challenge, begins a four-game road trip on Wednesday at UC Santa Barbara (7 p.m.), followed by a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Montana. Johnny Dee, who was an NUCDF All-Tournament selection and was named WCC Player of the Week on Monday, has sparked the team’s 3-2 record. Dee averaged 18.5 points in the four games, including a 27-point effort in a 77-60 win over Siena on Sunday.

The women’s team (1-1) plays two home games this weekend, opposing Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Friday and then against San Jose State in a 2 p.m. Sunday tilt. The Toreros are led by Amy Kame, who has averaged 14.5 points in the first two games, including 20 points and 11 rebounds in USD’s season-opening win over Cal State San Marcos. All fans attending the USD women’s basketball games this weekend can earn free admission by donating two canned food items.

And, if that’s not enough upcoming sports action for the Toreros, the university is also busy preparing for the upcoming NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at Torero Stadium. Quarterfinal games on Nov. 23 are set: Stanford vs. UCLA, North Carolina vs. BYU, Penn State vs. Duke and Notre Dame vs. Florida State. Winners will advance to San Diego. The semifinal game times are 5:30 and 8 p.m. on Nov. 30. The national championship game will be played at 1 p.m. Dec. 2. All times Pacific. All three games will be televised live on ESPNU. General admission tickets are still available for $40 (covers admission to all three games).

— Ryan T. Blystone

Keep up with USD Athletics on its website, on Facebook and Twitter, @USDToreros and all teams through its social media directory.

Photos courtesy of USD Athletics

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