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Torero Athletics: Successful Season Starts for Basketball; Volleyball, Football Awards

The start of the University of San Diego men’s basketball season has literally been one for the ages.

 

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When the Toreros achieved a 69-59 road victory over Pac-12 Conference opponent, Colorado, on Dec. 12, it gave USD an 8-2 mark, the best record for the first 10 games in a season since becoming an NCAA Division I program in 1979-80.

“It feels really good,” USD Head Coach Lamont Smith said of the team’s start. “I’m proud of these guys who have been in our program, who believed in us, our system and each other. And looking in their eyes and knowing they’re not satisfied is really refreshing.”

Although USD’s record went to 8-3 after an 86-83 home overtime loss to North Texas on Dec. 16, the competitiveness shown by the Toreros under Smith has been palpable.

Against Colorado, four Toreros scored in double digits, led by a 20-point performance by Isaiah Wright. Tyler Williams tied his season-high of 13 points, while Isaiah Pineiro and Olin Carter III added 10 apiece. Juwan Gray chipped in a season-high eight points.

In the loss to North Texas, the Toreros found themselves in an up-and-down game before 1,419 fans at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Junior guard Tyler Williams paced five Toreros in double-digit scoring with 18 points, but North Texas (7-5) received a big game from guard Roosevelt Smart who made some tough shots as part of a game-high 31 points.

The Toreros trailed 77-72 with 28 seconds left, but Isaiah Wright canned two free throws and then Carter knotted the score at 77 with a three-pointer with 18 seconds left. In the overtime North Texas led 85-81 with 12 seconds to go, but Williams cashed in on two free throws to pull within two with six seconds to go. DJ Draper made one free throw for the three-point lead, but with three seconds left and North Texas trying to inbound near the USD bench, Yauhen Massalski deflected the inbound pass and collected it and got off a three-point attempt that was off the mark to end the game.

Next Games: USD Men’s Basketball hosts Life Pacific College, Dec. 22, 7 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion; West Coast Conference play begins — USD Men’s Basketball hosts San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 28, 6 p.m.; USD hosts Pepperdine, Saturday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

The USD women’s basketball (7-4) team cruised past the University of Texas-San Antonio, 78-69, inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Dec. 16. The Toreros scored a season-high 35 points in the first quarter and maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the game.

The Toreros had three players score in double figures, led by Alexandra Hagen’s career high 25 points. Sydney Williams and Maya Hood each scored 16 and Hood notched a double-double with 10 rebounds. Williams has scored at least 16 points in each of the past three games.

Early in the first quarter the Toreros had a stretch where they made nine of 10 shots, part of an 8-0 run for a 17-9 lead. The Toreros held the lead for the rest of the game.

USD scored a season-high 35 first quarter points. They shot 70 percent (14-for-20) with Hagen and Williams each scoring 10 points. The Toreros extended their lead to 51-38 at halftime and, for the first this season, USD had three players who scored double-digits at the half (Hagen 16, Williams 12 and Hood 11).

The closest Roadrunners got the second half was eight points.

Next Games: West Coast Conference play begins — USD Women’s Basketball at San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 28, 7 p.m.; USD at Pepperdine, Saturday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball

Three members of the USD women’s volleyball team earned All-American accolades, the AVCA announced on Dec. 13. Senior setter Kristen Gengenbacher was named a Third-Team All-American while Jayden Kennedy and Addie Picha were honorable mention selections.

"Through Kristen's hard work, powerful leadership and dedication to the success of her teammates, she not only made her team better, but also left our program yearning for more," Head Coach Jennifer Petrie said. "She deserves to be an All-American because she is an extremely talented setter who always put the team first. Kristen loved the process and the results followed."

Gengenbacher is just the second Torero setter to earn All-American honors. She finished the season 11th in the nation and first in the WCC with 11.46 assists per set. Her setting helped the Toreros average 14.92 kills per set, the fifth best rate in the nation. She also finished the season with 13 double-doubles, averaging 2.69 digs per set, second best on the team. Gengenbacher finishes her USD career with 3,729 assists, the third most in program history.

Gengenbacher has already been named the WCC Player of the Year and the All-Pacific South Region Team. She has been honored for her work in the classroom as well, being named to the WCC All-Academic Team and the CoSIDA All-District Academic Team.

This is the third time USD has had three All-Americans in one year (2004 and 2013). The Toreros have had 16 All-Americans — First Team: Petia Yanchulova (1998, 99). Second Team: Chloe Ferrari (2013), Ali Troost (2009), Devon Forster (2004). Third Team: Kristen Gengenbacher (2017), Kristen Carlson (2006) and Lindsey Sherburne (2004). Honorable Mention: Jayden Kennedy (2017), Addie Picha (2017), Lisa Kramer (2015, 16), Lauren Schad (2016), Alaysia Brown (2013), C'era Oliveira (2013), Chloe Ferrari (2011), Ali Troost (2010), Amy Mahinalani DeGroot (2008), Christie Dawson (2005) and Kristen Hurst (2004).

Football

Senior USD football player Max Michaels has been named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Football Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Michaels, the PFL Scholar-Athlete of the Year, makes the First Team in 2017 after being named to the Second Team in 2016.

An accountancy major, Michaels carries a cumulative grade-point average of 3.95 (4.0 scale). This past season he started all 13 games for the Toreros (10-3) and helped USD to its second consecutive 8-0 Pioneer Football League championship run, and second straight year with a first-round win in the FCS Playoffs. He was named First Team All-PFL after totaling 74 tackles (second on team) to go with eight tackles for loss, seven passes defended, three quarterback hurries and one interception. Additionally, he earned his third consecutive First Team Academic All-PFL selection and the National Football Foundation named him a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy®.

Senior defensive end and team captain Jonathan Petersen was named to the 2017 STATS FCS All-America First Team for defense.  He was joined by teammate and senior tight end Ross Dwelley who was named to the Third Team Offense.

This follows the previous announcement that both players had been named to the 2017 Associated Press FCS All-America Teams with Petersen earning First Team honors and Dwelley on the Third Team. Additionally, three Toreros were recently recognized on the 2017 Phil Steele FCS All-American Teams.  Petersen was tabbed to the First Team Defense, while Dwelley and junior left tackle Daniel Cooney were selected to the Fourth Team Offense.  

Keep up with all USD Athletics news, scores and information by visiting the website and following the Toreros on social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.