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Torero Athletics: Tennis Gains Experience in NCAA Tourney; Men's Crew Qualifies for Nationals; Roundup

USD tennis player Joel Gamerov returns a shot during a match. Last Saturday, Gamerov won the deciding point to lift USD to a 4-2 win over Texas Tech.USD tennis player Joel Gamerov returns a shot during a match. Last Saturday, Gamerov won the deciding point to lift USD to a 4-2 win over Texas Tech.

The West Coast Conference champion University of San Diego men’s tennis team exited the NCAA Tournament after two rounds this past weekend, but the experience gave the young team a major boost of confidence heading into next season.

In NCAA Tournament regional play hosted by No. 2 seed UCLA, USD Coach Ryan Keckley’s team, ranked 39th, battled hard and earned an upset 4-2 victory over No. 30 Texas Tech on May 12. The win earned the Toreros a May 13 second-round match against the Bruins, a 4-0 victory by UCLA, but USD’s effort in the two matches means a lot.

Two players, August Holmgren and David Norfeldt, are only freshmen and three more — Gui Osorio, Joel Gamerov and Nico Borter — are sophomores. Each one played a key role throughout the season and gained solid college tennis experience.

On Saturday against Texas Tech, which is coached by former USD head coach Brett Masi, the Toreros secured the doubles point on impressive wins by the Borter-Osorio duo and the team of Norfeldt and senior Alexandros Araouzos. The point was critical when singles play started.

Araouzos quickly won at No. 6 to make it 2-0 and No. 3 Borter had a solid win for a 3-0 lead. But Texas Tech, which defeated USD 4-3 during the regular season in San Diego, secured two singles victories to close within 3-2.

Gamerov, however, gave USD the deciding match point, rallying from a 6-3 first-set loss against Ilgiz Valiev with 6-3, 6-3 victories in the second and third set.

“I could not be happier for Joel,” Keckley said. “He came up huge in a massive moment for a sophomore. He continues to be one of our strongest competitors.”

On Sunday, the USD team’s season concluded with the loss to UCLA, but playing against the nation’s second seed was an experience in its own right.

UCLA won the doubles point, but the team of Osorio and Borter won their match first in a 6-0 romp and UCLA was extended a bit to earn the point. In singles play, the Bruins got victories at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 positions to improve their record to 28-2 and advance to the second round. USD’s final season record is 17-9.

USD’s Holmgren, who had strong performances during the weekend, qualified as an at-large entry into the upcoming NCAA Individual Tournament in singles. The tournament runs May 23-28 at Wake Forest University.

Men’s Rowing

The USD men’s rowing team turned in a second-place finish in the Western Sprints’ varsity eight race in Rancho Cordova on May 12 to earn a spot in the upcoming IRA National Championships in June.

The Toreros’ accomplishment puts USD in the national championship competition for the first time since the 2014 season. USD is led by head coach Brooks Dagman and assistant David Janiak.

The Toreros competed in three races overall – varsity, second varsity and third varsity eight – and finished fourth in the latter two races. In the main varsity race, USD finished in a time of 6 minutes, 4 seconds, losing to winner UC San Diego by three seconds, but edging Santa Clara by a second.

At the 1,000-meter mark, USD was down by a boat length but rallied to surpass Santa Clara at the end.

USD now prepares for the IRA Championships, taking place at Lake Natoma, Calif., June 1-3.

Women’s Rowing

The USD women’s rowing team finished third in the West Coast Conference Championship standings, earning two third-place finishes and one fourth at races held May 12 at Lake Natoma.

The Toreros, under the direction of first-year head coach Sarah Trowbridge, finished behind WCC champion Gonzaga, which swept the three races, and Loyola Marymount was second. Gonzaga has now won the WCC title three years in a row.

USD’s varsity eight was third in a time of 6 minutes, 55 seconds. Gonzaga won in 6:39, followed by LMU in 6:44. Portland, Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara and Creighton finished, in order, behind USD.

In the Second Varsity Eight, USD’s team finished in 7:09 for third behind Gonzaga (6:57) and LMU (7:05). In the Varsity Four race, USD finished behind Gonzaga, LMU and Portland, with a time of 8:01.

Baseball

The USD baseball team concluded West Coast Conference play this past weekend by winning two of three games in a road series at the University of Portland.

A strong outing by USD starting pitcher Paul Richan (10 strikeouts in eight innings) helped the Toreros win the series opener, 9-4, on Friday. Bhret Bewley drove in four runs and was joined by Paul Kunst and Adam Kerner with a three-hit game.

Chris Murphy, a left-handed starting pitcher for the Toreros, tossed a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 win Saturday that was aided by USD’s 16 hits, including home runs by Jay Schuyler and Bhret Bewley. Murphy on Monday was named the WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week.

Portland avoided the series sweep with a 4-3 victory over USD on Sunday. Kerner hit a home run and he and Kevin Collard each had two hits for USD (23-30 overall, 12-15 WCC).

Earlier last week, USD played its final two home games of the season — both nonconference games — and dropped a 6-5 decision to UC Riverside on May 8 and then a 12-7 defeat against Arizona State May 9.

Next Games: USD Baseball at Oregon State, today, 5:35 p.m.; USD at Oregon State, Tuesday, 5:35 p.m.

Women’s Track

The San Diego women’s track team finished their 2018 season May 12 at the Occidental College Invitational

USD’s freshman women fared very well in the 800 meters. Jessica Ong set a freshman record by finishing in 2 minutes, 16.39 seconds while Kate Kohler was eighth and set a personal best in 2:18.19. 

Junior Natalie North Cole ran an aggressive race in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing second in 11:20.47. She missed her personal best by one second. 

Sam Mattice finished with a season best in the 5,000 with a time of 17:22.49. Her time ranked her fifth-best in USD history. 

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