Athletics Roundup: Tough Losses in Football, Volleyball; M&W Soccer; M&W Cross-Country

Athletics Roundup: Tough Losses in Football, Volleyball; M&W Soccer; M&W Cross-Country

Inches away from one of the biggest wins in University of San Diego football history, junior running back Emilio Martinez had the ball knocked away from his outstretched hand at the goal line with two seconds left as USD suffered a tough-luck home loss against No. 5/4 UC Davis, 38-35, Saturday at Torero Stadium.

The Toreros (0-2) leading by four with under four minutes remaining, used a steady dose of solid gains on the ground by Martinez and a 30-yard connection between quarterback Reid Sinnett and Alex Spadone to march down the field on its final offensive drive. After Sinnett kept the drive alive with a six-yard scramble to convert on a third down and put the ball at the four-yard line, the redshirt senior found an open Martinez running parallel to the goal line with the clock winding down. He reached high to allow the ball to cross the plane of the end zone, but UC Davis' Devon King jarred the ball loose before it fell for a touchback.

AthleticsRoundup - Sept9

The USD offense kept the game close, led by Martinez's 115 yards on the ground. As a team, the Toreros rushed for 174 yards.
The game started similar to the Aug. 31 loss at Cal Poly as UC Davis (1-1) opened with touchdowns on its first two possessions. However, Michael Armstead halted the Aggies’ momentum by returning a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. Armstead, for the second week in a row, was named the Pioneer Football League’s Special Teams player of the week.
The Toreros were able to get a quick stop on the ensuing possession and answer a UC Davis interception with one of their own in the second quarter to set up an eight-play, 27-yard touchdown drive and tie it at 14-14. Martinez rushed for 17 yards on the short drive before Sinnett ran to the corner of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown.
The Aggies were closing in on another touchdown-producing drive midway through the second, but Jacob Bergstrom read a pass play for the interception to stop UC Davis. However, the Aggies quickly picked off Sinnett for a second time and converted the turnover into points on one play — a 37-yard touchdown catch by Carson Crawford for a 21-14 halftime lead.
USD used an eight-play, 79-yard drive to tie the game as Martinez capped it with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. After the Toreros tied it at 28-all when Sinnett found Dalton Kincaid for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, UC Davis regained the 31-28 lead early in the fourth on a 28-yard field goal.
Sinnett found Kincaid for a 10-yard touchdown. The drive was kept alive on a big 16-yard reception by Michael Bandy on third-and-12 and a 28-yard pass to Zach Nelson setting up the Kincaid touchdown.
Sinnett finished with 239 yards on 23-of-33 passing, two TDs and two interceptions. Kincaid led all Torero receivers with five receptions and 55 yards.

The loss snapped two home win streaks for USD. The Toreros had the nation's longest FCS streak with 21 straight wins in their home confines as well as taking their eight previous home openers.

Football Schedule: USD bye Sept. 14; USD hosts Harvard, Saturday, Sept. 21, 1 p.m., Torero Stadium.


Despite dropping a tightly contested five-set thriller to the nation’s second-ranked team, Nebraska, 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22 and 15-11) on Saturday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion, the Toreros, who were No. 25, fell out of the Top 25 AVCA poll.
The Toreros (2-3) gave the Cornhuskers all they could handle falling just short after leading the match 2-1. With USD on top 22-21 in the fourth frame, Nebraska (4-0) rattled off four straight points to force a deciding fifth set and eventually complete the comeback. 
Grace Frohling and Katie Lukes both collected 17 kills to pace the San Diego offense. Frohling led the Toreros, hitting .371 and recording two blocks, while Lukes hit .295 and added two blocks as well. The Huskers held the slight edge over the Toreros offensively, hitting .252 compared to USD's .235. Roxie Wiblin and Thana Fayad also reached double-digit kills (10 each) and led the team with two aces each.
While Nebraska held the advantage with 12.5 blocks to USD's 7.0, the Torero blockers did their part to slow the Cornhusker offense. San Diego rarely allowed a Nebraska ball over the net without getting a hand on it first. Megan Jacobsen led the team with four blocks and Lauren Turner chipped in three (two solo).
Nebraska's Lexi Sun collected a match-high 21 kills, while Lauren Stivrins and Madi Kubik added 14 and 11 kills respectively. Stivrins also tallied a match-high 8 blocks for the Huskers.

One night earlier in the USD Invitational, San Diego dominated Arkansas in a 3-0 victory.

The Torero defense gave the Razorbacks trouble all night, collecting eight team blocks, 50 digs and limiting Arkansas to a -.021 hitting percentage, in the 25-13, 25-13, 25-19 triumph. 
Jacobsen was efficient for the Toreros, hitting .471 with nine kills and four blocks, while Wiblin paced USD with 10 kills and two aces. Fayad and Annie Benbow each collected 11 digs for USD and Fayad added nine kills and one of the Toreros' seven total aces. 

Volleyball Schedule: USD at UC Santa Barbara Invitational: USD at UCSB, Friday, 6 p.m.; USD vs. Harvard, Saturday, 10 a.m.; USD vs. La Salle, Saturday, 4 p.m. 

Men’s Soccer

A trio of shutout victories in a week not only pushed the USD men’s soccer team’s early-season record to 4-0, but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Matt Wiher was recognized by the West Coast Conference as its player of the week.

Wiher had two saves in a 3-0 win over Cal Poly on Sept. 2, three in a 1-0 win against Detroit Mercy Sept. 6 and another three in a 3-0 victory on Sept. 8 vs. Belmont. The three shutouts and triumphs lifted USD to the program’s best start since 2002 when it opened that campaign 5-0.
Wiher is the first USD goalkeeper to have three consecutive shutouts since 2017 (Thomas Olsen). For his career, Wiher has seven shutouts and a goals-against average of 0.80 (16 goals against in 20 games). The seven shutouts put him one away from cracking USD's top-10 for most in a career.

While Wiher has been keeping the ball out of USD’s net, the Toreros offense took care of its job, too. In the win against Cal Poly, Paul Ramlow, Jacob Planell and Freddy Polzer each scored. George West’s first goal of the season, in the 67th minute held up for USD against Detroit Mercy. Miguel Berry then had two second-half goals and Planell tallied for USD against Belmont.

Men’s Soccer Schedule: USD hosts UC Davis, Friday, 7 p.m., Torero Stadium; USD hosts Sacramento State, Sunday, 2 p.m., Torero Stadium. 

Women’s Soccer

A three-game week for the USD women’s soccer game had a little bit of everything: a double-overtime, 2-1 loss at Long Beach on Sept. 2; a 3-0 setback at Cal Berkeley on Sept. 6; and, finally, a 1-0 home triumph against Cal Poly on Sept. 8.

The deciding margin of the win over Cal Poly came in the 85th minute when freshman forward Bekah Valdez’s first collegiate goal. Valdez connected from 20 yards out off an assist from USD goalkeeper Amber Michel. She punched the ball through on an advancing attempt by the Mustangs. The redshirt senior’s assist was her first in 52 collegiate games played. Michel also made three saves in the win.

In games played earlier last week, USD and Long Beach State battled it out on the Labor Day holiday. Long Beach scored first in the 76th minute, but Milan Moses, off an assist from Sami Fairweather, tallied in the 80th minute with her third goal of the season.

Following a scoreless first overtime mark, Long Beach State scored in the 108th minute of the second overtime to earn the win.

Against Cal, USD had some good moments, but the Golden Bears scored in the 24th minute and then tallied twice in the second half in the 61st and 83rd minute. Moses had three shots in the game.

Women’s Soccer Schedule: USD hosts San Diego State, Friday, 7 p.m., Torero Stadium; USD at Cal State Northridge, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Cross-Country (Men and Women)

The lone home meet of the season for the USD women and men’s cross-country teams will take place on a new day and at a new time.

San Diego will host its annual USD Invitational this Friday, September 13, in the evening. For the first time, the race will be run late in the afternoon with a start time of 5:30 p.m. for the women's 6k race and 6:30 p.m. for the men's 8k contest. Both races will be run on a large grass 2km loop at Tecolote Shores North Park.

This is only the second meet of the season for the Torero teams, who are coached by Will Guarino, a 1988 USD alumnus. Back on Aug. 31, USD ran at the Mark Covert Classic in Brea, Calif. The women’s team finished fourth, led by top runner Hannah Rasmussen, and the men’s team took 10th place with Ethan Steiner earning the highest finish.

Cross-Country (Men and Women): USD hosts USD Invitational Meets, Friday, 5:30 p.m. (W), 6:30 p.m. (M), Tecolote Shores North Park.

USD Athletics

Keep up with all USD Athletics news, scores and information on its website. Follow the Toreros on social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram. See videos on its YouTube channel.

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