Significant upsets in Torero history
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
The USD men’s soccer team’s defeat of the UCLA Bruins on Sept. 26 not only marked the team’s third win of the season and first victory in two weeks, but it also served as a significant upset given UCLA’s No. 1 ranking. The Toreros completed a 1-0 victory in front of a record crowd at Torero Stadium, which undoubtedly provided the team with energy and momentum.
This was not the first time a Torero squad has taken down a top-ranked opponent. In recent years both the baseball and women’s volleyball teams have pulled off big upsets over teams sitting atop the rankings. While the basketball team has never knocked a team out of the top spot in the rankings, they too have a history of big-time upsets over historic athletic programs. Here is a look back at some of the biggest upset wins in USD history.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Defeated No. 1 USC Trojans (September 13, 2013)
Just last year the Toreros’ women’s volleyball team shocked the top-ranked Trojans of USC, beating them by a score of 3-1. A record crowd of 2,014 fans packed the Jenny Craig Pavilion and cheered the Toreros to one of the biggest wins in the program’s history.
The momentous win was one of five victories over ranked opponents during the 2013 volleyball season. After clinching the victory, which caused a flood of ecstatic students to rush the court, head coach Jennifer Petrie summed up the feelings of her fearless team.
“No matter who the giant is on the other side of the net, our girls believe they are going to win,” Petrie said.
BASEBALL: Defeated No. 1 Texas Longhorns (February 3-5, 2006)
The baseball team opened its 2006 season with a three-game sweep against the University of Texas Longhorns. The Toreros treated the home fans at Cunningham Stadium to a thorough domination of the Longhorns, who were the defending College World Series champions.
Over the course of the three games the Toreros outscored the Longhorns by a score of 22-10, a figure which was helped greatly by a 6-0 shutout in the series’ second game. The sweep gave USD its first ever wins against the University of Texas, a school with six national titles and the best overall winning percentage in NCAA Division I baseball.
The series featured some future MLB players as well. Brian Matusz, currently a member of the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen, pitched for the Toreros while Colorado Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs starred for the Longhorns.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Defeated No. 4 Connecticut Huskies (March 21, 2008)
As a 13th seed who had to travel all the way to Tampa Bay, Florida to face a perennial powerhouse in the fourth-seeded Connecticut Huskies, no one gave the Toreros much of a chance to secure their first ever NCAA Tournament victory. But that’s exactly what this underdog Torero squad did, beating the Huskies in a scintillating 70-69 game.
Guard De’Jon Jackson made the biggest and most memorable shot in USD basketball history, sinking a fadeaway jumper with just 1.2 seconds left to bust America’s brackets and propel the Toreros into the second round. Forward Gyno Pomare led the way with 22 points, while fellow forward Rob Jones had 14 points and six rebounds while battling Connecticut big man Hasheem Thabeet in the post.
This win at the Tampa Bay Times Forum remains the only NCAA Tournament win in USD history, as the Toreros would go on to lose to Western Kentucky in the next round. Head coach Bill Grier spoke about his history-making team after the game.
“We’ve won a lot of close games,” Grier said about his roster which also beat Kentucky and Gonzaga that season. “They know how to win.”