Torero sports have an eventful winter break

By Alex Bullock

When students break for classes and go home for winter break to celebrate the holidays with their families, Toreros are still hard at work representing our school on the court. The season does not stop when classes do. There’s no winter break for the USD sports program.

In December, the men’s basketball team traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic where they lost two close games to Oregon State University Beavers and James Madison University Dukes. After returning from Las Vegas, the Toreros rattled off five straight victories, four of those coming against West Coast Conference opponents, including the University of Portland Pilots, the University of San Francisco Dons, the Pepperdine University Waves and the Loyola Marymount University Lions. After the strong start, the Toreros faced a tough string of conference opponents in the Brigham Young University Cougars, the St. Mary’s College Gaels and the Santa Clara Broncos, dropping all three games. After this weekend’s close loss to the No. 7 Gonzaga University Bulldogs, the Toreros find themselves at 12-12 overall, 5-4 in conference play and are looking to recover their early season success.

The women’s basketball team hosted the annual Maggie Dixon Surf N’ Slam Classic, played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros notched an overtime victory over the Central Michigan University Chippewas before falling to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, who eventually went on to become the tournament champion. The team then split a road trip to the Pacific Northwest, losing to Gonzaga and defeating Portland. They played two more overtime games after that, including a loss to BYU and a win against Loyola Marymount. The Toreros followed those close games with a win at St. Mary’s. After a loss to Gonzaga at home, the team has won four consecutive games over Portland, Pepperdine, Santa Clara and San Francisco. The Toreros are 15-7 overall, 7-3 in conference and are looking to continue their strong play through the end of the season in hopes of earning a bid to the NCAA tournament.

The men’s tennis team is currently ranked No. 26 in the country and was picked to finish second in the WCC preseason poll behind Pepperdine. Junior Clarke Spinosa was named to the preseason all-conference team. The team traveled to Stanford, Calif. to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kickoff Weekend, which took place at campuses across the country. The Toreros split the weekend, defeating the No. 28 Texas Tech University Red Raiders and falling to the No. 16 Texas A&M University Aggies. This weekend, the team swept a doubleheader against UC San Diego Tritons and UC Irvine Anteaters in their home opener.

The women’s tennis team was picked to finish third in the WCC preseason poll and junior Anna Depenau was picked to the preseason all-conference team. The team opened their season with a victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans. The team then traveled to Los Angeles for the ITA Kickoff Weekend, and in an event plagued by inclement weather, the Toreros fell to the No. 2 UCLA Bruins. Their match against the University of South Florida Bulls was cancelled.