Hard-fought battles, last-minute losses, and season enders — it was a high and low week for USF athletics. Both men’s and women’s basketball concluded their regular seasons this week. Besides basketball, here’s your recap of this week in Dons’ sports.
Men’s and women’s cross country competed in the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Feb. 24 at the Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas, placing sixth and third respectively. The women’s 68 points propelled them to their sixth consecutive top-three finish in the WCC, with McKenzie Yanek’s fourth-place finish (20:18) and Eve Jensen’s ninth-place finish (20:42) in the 6 km race earning them all-WCC honors. The men’s 176 points were not enough to seal a top-five spot, as WCC champions Brigham Young University took seven of the top 15 spots at the meet.
Feb 24. proved to be a tough day away from home for women’s volleyball as they were swept by the undefeated University of San Diego Toreros (24-26, 16-25, 23-25). The following day was not more fruitful for the Dons either, as they again fell to the Toreros, this time in four sets (17-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-25) despite Orsula Staka’s career-high ten kills. USF women’s volleyball now has a 5-5 overall win-loss record and returns home March 5 to host the Brigham Young University Cougars.
Men’s baseball took on the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears in a four-game series Feb. 25-28, coming away with one win. Games one and two were closely contested battles with the Bears squeaking out wins in the ninth innings of both contests. The Dons retaliated with a 10-6 thrashing in the third game of the series. Jack Winkler and Jacob Westerman accounted for five of the runs. Winkler rocketed three homeruns over the walls of the Benedetti Diamond across his five at-bats. Four runs in the seventh inning edged the Golden Bears past USF by a score of 5-1 in the final game of the series. The Dons will attempt to shake off the loss when they host the Fresno State Bulldogs March 2.
A windy Feb. 26 in San Jose brought a turbulent match for USF women’s tennis, as they ultimately fell against the San Jose State University Spartans by a score of 4-3. Comeback wins by Arianna Capogrosso and Chiho Mushika and a 6-4, 6-3 sweep by Maria Martinez Vaquero brought the contest down to the wire, but USF bowed out as SJSU produced their own comeback win. The Dons flipped the scoreline in their 4-3 victory over the Fresno State University Bulldogs Feb. 28, winning three singles matches and the doubles point as they kicked the Bulldogs to the curb.
USF men’s tennis handed out a stinging defeat Feb. 26 to their host, the Sacramento State University Hornets, with USF swatting their opposition by a score of 4-2. After dropping the doubles point, the Dons handily dispatched the top four singles spots behind sweeps by Phuc Hyunh and Nitzan Ricklis and competitive three-set displays from Paul Giraud and Stevie Gould.
A red card and an ensuing penalty kick were not enough to save USF women’s soccer Feb. 27 as the Dons lost to host BYU by a score of 2-3. Senior Ashley Humphrey’s first goal of the season to go along with four shots on goal made for a fierce fight, but a quality Cougars side held off the Dons in Utah. USF will seek to improve on a 1-1-1 overall record as they play the Pepperdine University Waves March 6.
Ivo Neto scored in his second straight game as USF men’s soccer came out on top against Gonzaga University 1-0 Feb. 28. A strong defense and debut by freshman goalkeeper Brandon Keniston pushed the Dons to a 2-2-0 overall record; this match marked the Dons’ first conference win of the season. Men’s Soccer will look to continue their winning ways as they take on arch-rivals the Santa Clara University Broncos for their home opener March 7.