Fall Sports Highlights

A Real Team Effort The West Coast Conference awarded its Commissioner’s Cup — given to the top-performing athletics program throughout the year — to USD for the first time in the trophy’s seven-year existence. The university also captured the men and women’s all-sports awards, recognizing athletic achievement within each gender.

Home Sweet Home The USD football team plays seven of its 11 games this season at home. The Toreros, 5-0 in home games last year, brought a 24-game home winning streak into the 2008 season. This season, USD hosted Marist on Aug. 29 and Azusa Pacific on Sept. 6. Barring a loss, the Toreros will open the home portion of their Pioneer Football League schedule on Oct. 4 against Valparaiso in the annual USD homecoming game. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Other Toreros home games this fall, each starting at 6 p.m., are: Oct. 11 vs. Morehead State; Nov. 1 vs. Dayton; Nov. 15 vs. Butler; and Nov. 22 vs. UC Davis.

Men’s and women’s cross country kicked off late in August with a local meet at UC San Diego against Point Loma, UCSD, and UNLV. Upcoming events include the Oct. 11 Triton Invitational at UCSD and Oct. 18 at the Cal Poly Invitational in preparation for the WCC championship race in San Mateo, Calif. The team will also run at the NCAA Western Regional qualifier at Stanford on Nov. 15. The 2008 season will close on Nov. 24 at Terre Haute, Ind., home to the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Battle Tested Conference play for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball begins in October, but each of the following teams will have already faced tough challenges: Women’s soccer, seeking another NCAA Tournament appearance, opened its season against defending national champion USC. USD plays in September tournaments at Pepperdine and UCLA. USD’s WCC opener is Oct. 12 at Santa Clara. Men’s soccer has seven teams on its schedule this season that reached the NCAA Tournament last year — including three West Coast Conference opponents. The team played in the Loyola Marymount tournament and hosts the San Diego Classic in September. The team’s WCC opener is Oct. 3 at Saint Mary’s. Volleyball has four tournaments on its pre-WCC schedule, including hosting its own event in September. The team hosts Gonzaga (Oct. 2) and Portland (Oct. 4) during USD’s homecoming weekend.