Athletics Roundup: Big Test Ahead for Volleyball; Soccer, Football, Cross-Country

Megan Jacobsen, front, and Grae Frohling (foreground) seek a block during a WCC home match win against San Francisco. The Toreros had 17 blocks.Senior Libero Payton Douglass prepares to serve during a USD volleyball match last week against Santa Clara. The match was the team's Pink Game to support breast cancer awareness, too.

The numbers are growing and, most importantly, showing that the University of San Diego women’s volleyball team is gearing up for a big test.

This past week, the team swept two West Coast Conference foes inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion, Santa Clara (25-23, 25-22, 25-18) on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12 against San Francisco (25-18, 25-15, 25-18). The wins give the Toreros a 12-match win streak and mark the 10th and 11th time they’ve swept an opponent.

Now comes the test.

USD (14-4 overall, 7-0 WCC) will travel to Provo, Utah to face the nation’s ninth-ranked team, BYU (16-2, 7-0), in WCC play on Friday. BYU has a 10-match win streak and has swept opponents six times this season. One can be sure that practices at both gyms this week will be spirited and intense. A Torero win would likely catapult USD back into the nation's Top 25 AVCA poll.

Against Santa Clara, USD got 10 kills each from Thana Fayad and Megan Jacobsen, Fayad added 10 digs, Grace Frohling and Katie Lukes each had eight kills in the win. This game was the team’s annual Pink Game for Breast Cancer Awareness month, too.

The victory over San Francisco showcased the Toreros’ defense. It put up a season-high 17 blocks and held the Dons to a .060 hitting percentage. Megan Jacobsen led the way with a career-best eight blocks (1 solo), while Anna Newsome and Cami May added six and five blocks respectively. All of USD's front row players (nine total) registered at least one block. Annie Benbow and Payton Douglass led the defensive effort in the back court with seven digs each, while Fayad added six. Douglass was also a force at the service line, collecting all three of USD's aces.

Newsome led the Toreros to a .278 hitting percentage, finishing with a match-high 30 assists. Jacobsen and Lukes had nine kills each.

Volleyball Schedule: USD at No. 9 BYU, Friday, 6 p.m. (Pacific), Provo, Utah.

Men’s Soccer

Senior Miguel Berry scored two goals and added an assist while Jimmy Ryan and Alex Churness contributed goals to lead No. 23 San Diego men's soccer to a 4-0 win over San Francisco in the West Coast Conference opener on Oct. 12 at Torero Stadium.
The Toreros (9-1-1, 1-0 WCC) blanked the Dons (2-7-1, 0-1 WCC) for their seventh shutout of the season as well as scored four goals for the second game in a row. The win gives USD a victory in its WCC opener for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Berry scored his career-high ninth and 10th goals of the season to lead the Torero offensive output. Today, he was named the WCC Men's Soccer Player of the Week. Berry, Ryan and Churness scored a goal for the second straight game as the Toreros scored four goals in back-to-back contests for the first time since 1999.
"The thing we've talked about is relieving the pressure off (Berry)," said USD head coach Brian Quinn. "You can't just rely on him if you want to have an opportunity to win the conference or make the NCAA Tournament. The deeper you get into the conference, the teams are more sophisticated. Even tonight, everyone was honing in on Miguel and that's why other people had to step up and make plays in the game. (Ryan) and (Churness) scoring goals in consecutive games, that's pleasing to me."

As a team, the Toreros outshot the Dons 16-5, with 11 of the 16 shots being on goal. The USD backline, meanwhile, limited San Francisco to just one shot on a net.

The USD backline was effective in its defense, but it also contributed offensively as three defenders – Chase Van Wey (2), Till Stockmann (2) and Henry Lander – all had assists on the four goals. In total, seven Toreros had at least one point. The win was USD’s first against San Francisco since 2014.
Men’s Soccer Schedule: USD at UCLA, Thursday, 7 p.m., Los Angeles; USD at Saint Mary’s, Sunday, 1 p.m., Moraga, Calif.


Redshirt senior quarterback Reid Sinnett threw for five touchdowns spread among four different receivers while the San Diego defense shut out its opponent in the second half for the second straight game as the Toreros downed Davidson, 37-17, at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C. on Oct. 12.
USD (3-2, 2-0 Pioneer Football League) extended its league winning streak to 31 games — the longest active streak in Division I — by dominating both sides of the ball in the second half to pull away from a tie game at halftime. Sinnett threw for 358 yards and connected with nine different receivers among his 27 completions, led by senior Michael Bandy and his nine receptions and 118 yards. The defense, meanwhile, surrendered 107 yards in the second half to hold the Wildcats (4-2, 1-1 PFL) scoreless in the final 30 minutes.
Sinnett, who threw for 300+ yards in a game for the fourth time in five contests this year, was extraordinarily accurate in the win, completing 84.4% of his passes (27-of-32). In the second half alone, he was 12-of-14 (85.7%) for 187 yards and three touchdowns. On Sunday, Sinnett was named the PFL’s Offensive Player of the Week.
With Sinnett piloting the attack, the Toreros accumulated 469 total yards against a Davidson defense that entered the game second-best in the FCS for average total yards allowed (251.4). The Wildcats also entered the day allowing a PFL-best 17.8 points per game, an average in which the Toreros more than doubled. USD has scored 30+ points in all five games this season.
While the offense beat the averages of the Davidson defense, the defense of the Toreros did much of the same. USD held the Wildcat option offense to 142 rushing yards on 53 carries, the lowest output by the Davidson run game this year. The Wildcats came in averaging 330.8 rushing yards, the best mark in the PFL and fifth-highest in the FCS.

Football Schedule: USD hosts Valparaiso, Saturday, 2 p.m., Torero Stadium. 

Women’s Soccer

It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far for the USD women’s soccer team in West Coast Conference play. This past week, the Toreros scored three goals in the first half en route to a 5-0 home win Oct. 9. Three days later, playing at No. 24 Santa Clara, USD held the Broncos scoreless in the first half, but Santa Clara erupted for a 6-0 win.

In three WCC games, USD (5-6-1 overall, 1-2-0 WCC) has been outscored 12-5. Gonzaga defeated USD 6-0 on Oct. 5.

USD did bounce back from that conference-opening game defeat with four goals coming off corner kicks and five different players scoring a goal in the win over St. Mary’s. Michaela Foster, Kelley Carusa, Madison Louderback, Eden Quiroz and Emma Barrow tallied for USD. Foster, Quiroz and Carusa each had an assist, too.

Against Santa Clara, The Toreros played a strong first 45 minutes, pressuring Santa Clara to create space in the backfield. Foster, Malia Walencewicz, and Carusa helped hold the Broncos at midfield for a majority of the first half. San Diego's midfield played up high to hold possession and create opportunities on offense. Bekah Valdez, Halle Walls, and Natalie Copenhaver helped gain possession for the Toreros off of goal kicks, leading to multiple shot opportunities.

Milan Moses looked to breakthrough for the Toreros in the 16th minute with a shot off her left foot. Moses led the way on offense with two shots, one on goal. But Santa Clara scored goals in the 46th, 50th, 58th, two in the 60th minute and, lastly, in the 87th.

Women’s Soccer Schedule: USD hosts Loyola Marymount, Friday, 7 p.m., Torero Stadium. 

Men and Women’s Cross-Country

The USD men and women’s cross-country team will run in the UC Riverside-hosted Highlanders Invitational on Saturday morning. This is the first meet for the teams since Sept. 28 when both competed in the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn.

The Highlander Invitational takes place at the UC Riverside Agricultural Operations Course. The men’s 8K race is at 8 a.m. and the women’s 6K race follows at 8:40 a.m. This is the Torero teams’ final meet prior to the Nov. 1 West Coast Conference Championships meet. 

Cross-Country Schedules: USD teams at UC Riverside’s Highlander Invitational, Saturday, 8 and 8:40 a.m., Riverside, Calif. 

USD Athletics

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