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Athletics Roundup: Basketball Begins; Football, Volleyball, Cross-Country, Soccer, Swimming

Toreros running back JoJo Binda Jr. is congratulated after scoring one of his three touchdowns in a win over Drake.The lone senior player on the USD men's basketball team, Alex Floresca, right, works in practice. The team opens the 2019-20 season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against UC Irvine.

The University of San Diego’s 2019-20 men's basketball season, under head coach Sam Scholl, begins Tuesday night, Nov. 5.

The Toreros, who finished 21-15 overall and 7-9 in the West Coast Conference and made the program's first NIT appearance, host defending Big West Conference regular-season/tournament champion and NCAA Tournament participant, UC Irvine (31-6, 15-1 last year), in a 7 p.m. game in the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

This is the first of four games USD will play against Big West teams on its nonconference schedule. This Saturday, USD plays at Long Beach State and in December the Toreros will play at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 11 and host UC Davis Dec. 14. UCI, whose 31 wins was a program record, is the preseason favorite to repeat as Big West champion. The Anteaters return three starters and six players from last year's team.

USD, meanwhile, has just one senior, 6-foot-8 redshirt senior forward Alex Floresca, 6-10 junior forward Yauhen Massalski, 6-4 sophomore guard Finn Sullivan, and 6-3 redshirt sophomore guard Joey Calcaterra among its returners. There are several newcomers for the Toreros.

Men's Basketball Schedule: USD hosts UC Irvine, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion; USD at Long Beach State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Long Beach, Calif. 

Women’s Basketball

The USD women’s basketball team plays an exhibition game Wednesday night at home against CSU San Bernardino and the regular-season schedule doesn’t open until Nov. 11 when the Toreros host Towson.

Head Coach Cindy Fisher is certainly eager to make the most of her 15th season at the helm. Here’s a closer look at the team prior to Wednesday’s exhibition game. 

Women’s Basketball Schedule: USD hosts Cal State University San Bernardino (exhibition), Wednesday, 6 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Football

San Diego scored six rushing touchdowns, including a career-high three by JoJo Binda, Jr., and held Drake to one score as it stayed undefeated in Pioneer Football League play with a 49-7 win Nov. 2 at Torero Stadium.

On a nation-leading 34-game conference winning streak, the Toreros (6-2, 5-0 PFL) totaled 476 yards of offense against the PFL’s top defense in conference action and handed Drake (4-4, 4-1 PFL) its first league loss of the year. Binda Jr. and Smith ran for 82 and 87 yards, respectfully, as USD gained 236 yards on the ground to go with 281 in the air. Smith had two touchdowns.

While the Torero offense overpowered the Bulldog defense, USD’s defense held Drake to the one touchdown, matching its season-best for points allowed in a game. The Toreros forced three interceptions, five punts and three turnover-on-downs to limit Drake to 260 total yards of offense. The lone Bulldog touchdown was surrendered after a USD fumble gave Drake the ball six yards from the end zone midway through the third quarter.

David Tolbert, Victor Lopez and Amir Wallace combined for the three USD takeaways, with Tolbert’s interception occurring on Drake’s first play from scrimmage. The Toreros converted the turnover into their first touchdown, a one-yard run by Binda, Jr., as they scored 14 points off the three picks.

Redshirt senior Reid Sinnett piloted the USD offense by going 23-of-28 with 281 passing yards and one touchdown to go with his rushing touchdown, giving him 30 touchdowns responsible for this season. The quarterback at one point completed 16 straight passes in the first and second quarters as he started 18-of-20 with 193 yards. He finished the first half with 22 completions on 26 attempts and 235 yards. Michael Bandy was the primary target for Sinnett, catching seven passes for 55 yards. Dalton Kincaid, meanwhile, led the team with 117 yards on five catches, one of which was a 46-yard touchdown on a double-reverse flea flicker in the third quarter.

USD was stingy in the first half, holding Drake scoreless and only 51 yards, while it opened up a 35-0 advantage.

Football Schedule: USD at Stetson, Saturday, 10 a.m. (Pacific), Deland, Fla.

Women’s Volleyball

The Toreros are back in the section of the AVCA national poll where they’re receiving votes for consideration as a Top 25 ranked team. On the court this past week, USD scored a sweeping victory over Pacific on Oct. 31 and then defeated Saint Mary’s in four sets Nov. 2 for a three-match win streak in West Coast Conference home matches.

Against Pacific in the Jenny Craig Pavilion, Megan Jacobsen had 10 kills and Katie Lukes added nine in a 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 triumph against the Tigers. It was the 12th time this season USD has swept its opponent and the victory moved the team into double-digit wins in conference play.

Two days later against Saint Mary’s, USD had four players reach double-digits in kills in a 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 25-19 victory. USD’s record improved to 18-5 overall, 11-1 in the WCC. Grace Frohling led the Toreros with 14 kills, six aces and three blocks. Thana Fayad and Lukes each had 11 kills and Jacobsen chimed in with 10.

Women’s Volleyball Schedule: USD at San Francisco, Thursday, 7 p.m.; USD at Santa Clara, Saturday, 1 p.m. 

Men and Women’s Cross Country

The West Coast Conference Cross-Country Championships provided a new look for the women’s program, led by its top runner and solid depth combining for a top five team finish. On the men’s side, a noble effort by a young squad helped it represent the University of San Diego well.

Run on the Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Van Nuys, Calif., on Nov. 1, a 12th-place finish for junior standout Hannah Rasmussen in a personal best time of 20 minutes, 56.70 seconds helped the women’s team earn its best finish in the WCC championship meet in four years.

"It's a good day to be a Torero," said Head Coach Will Guarino. “The results speak for themselves. This group ran so well, and they showed tremendous grit.”

Rasmussen paced in the top 20 for a majority of the race until making a move around the halfway mark to distance herself from the middle of the pack. Rasmussen’s time was her fastest in this particular meet and enabled her to automatically qualify for All-WCC second-team honors.

Molly Klein ran strong, too, pacing with Rasmussen for the first quarter of the race. Klein held her own in the middle of a crowded field to finish 30th in 21:51.97. Cammy Manes finished three places behind Klein in 21:57.32. Madison Lambros and Gianna Sbarbaro rounded out the top five with times of 22:16.87 and 22:34.38, respectively.

In the men’s 8K race, Ian Converse led the young Torero team, finishing 39th overall in 25:17.19 as USD finished eighth in the team standings. "Ian came through for us," Guarino said. "Anyone for us one through six can be our number one runner on any given day. It was exciting to see Ian emerge in the top spot."

Nic Dinsdale paced closely behind Converse to finish 43rd in 25:25.82. Ethan Steiner, Jackson Pearce, and Patrick Bruce rounded out the top five. 

Cross-Country Schedule: USD teams at NCAA Western Regionals, Nov. 15, Colfax, Wash., race times TBA.

Men’s Soccer

The men's soccer team has hit its roughest patch of the season so far in West Coast Conference play. Ranked 23rd in the national poll — the team has been as high as 16th — the Toreros suffered their fourth straight loss Nov. 2 in a 4-2 WCC contest against host Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

Pacific scored three first-half goals, including the first two in the opening 11 minutes of the game, to put the pressure on USD. A third goal came in the 24th minute.

USD goals by Aidan Marmion in the 50th minute, his first of the season, and Miguel Berry in the 77th gave the team some hope, but Pacific's fourth goal came in the 62nd minute and kept them at a comfortable level.

Berry's goal, coming on a penalty kick, gave him a team-high 14 for the season and tied him for seventh in USD history for most goals in a single season. His 35 points are eighth-best in the program's history.

USD outshot Pacific, 10-7, but the Tigers had a 6-5 edge in shots on goal. Nine of USD's 10 shots came in the second half, indicating how dominate Pacific's opening half was.

Men’s Soccer Schedule: USD hosts Portland, Saturday, 7 p.m., Torero Stadium (Senior Day).

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team’s 5-0 home record at Torero Stadium still had a chance to be extended after a scoreless regulation with Pepperdine on Nov. 1, but the visitors were awarded a penalty kick in overtime and Madi Cook’s goal gave the Waves a 1-0 win.

The loss, coming on USD’s Senior Day, handed the Toreros (6-9-1 overall, 2-5 WCC) their first home loss of the season in six games. USD has one more home game, actually, on Nov. 6 against Pacific, but Friday’s loss stung.

USD's seniors, Amber Michel, Kelley Carusa, Milan Moses, Halle Walls, and Emma Barrow, contributed over 70 minutes of action each.

Moses led San Diego's offense with three shots. In the eighth minute, Moses tried to connect off a quick switch back but the shot was blocked by the Waves. Michel held Pepperdine scoreless with big saves in the first half, including one shot in the 37th minute in which the Waves fired a shot from 10 yards out that nearly skipped in under the crossbar. Carusa and Michaela Foster patrolled the backline taking away multiple Pepperdine attacks to assist in the defensive effort. Walls, Natalie Copenhaver, and Sami Fairweather were tough at midfield while battling through 10 Pepperdine fouls.

Michel recorded double-digit saves in the second half after stopping three in the opening half. She had multiple diving stops to keep San Diego in the game. Michel finished with 12 saves, tying her season-high. Moses had one last shot in regulation in the 89th minute, but Pepperdine goalie Devyn Gilfoy made a tough save to force overtime.

Women’s Soccer Schedule: USD hosts Pacific, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Torero Stadium; USD at Portland, Ore., Saturday, 7 p.m.

Women’s Swimming/Diving

The Toreros won 10 of 14 events to earn a 156-97 dual meet victory Nov. 2 against host Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.

USD's A team won the meet's first relay, the 200-yard medley, in a time of 1 minute, 48.53 seconds. Swimmers on this winning performance were Taylor Doherty, Callie Johnson, Maeve Murdoch and Kailyn Evans. USD's B team finished second in 1:51.64.

Individual USD wins were turned in by Rachel Hubka (50 freestyle, 200 free), Parker Henry (100 backstroke), Sam Eason (200 butterfly, 100 free), Lauren Quincy (200 backstroke), Elena Elie (200 breaststroke), Murdoch (100 butterfly) and Sabrina Firnett (200 individual medley).

Women’s Swim/Dive Schedule: USD at Pepperdine Invitational, Nov. 22-24, at East Los Angeles College, time TBA.

USD Athletics

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Contact:

USD News Center
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