Women’s soccer plays last home game

Seniors play final game at Torero Stadium


After stringing together a three-game winning streak, the University of San Diego women’s soccer team fell to the Santa Clara University Broncos on Sunday, Oct. 26, by a score of 3-1. The loss brought the Toreros’ overall record to 7-7-2, while the Broncos secured a crucial late season win to move their record to 11-6.

It has been an up and down season for the Toreros, who have had two three-game winning streaks marred by a glaring four-game winless stretch early in the year. The 2014 season has also seen the Toreros beat four ranked teams, including the No. 7 Pepperdine Waves and No. 10 Michigan Wolverines.

The week was not all bad for the women’s soccer team, though. On Thursday, Oct. 23, they knocked off the University of San Francisco Dons, winning by a score of 1-0 at Torero Stadium. It was an impressive sixth shutout of the year for the team, who have allowed only 20 goals all season.

The win against San Francisco was powered by sophomore midfielder Jacqueline Altschuld.

Coming into the game as the reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week, Altschuld continued her terrific play by putting one past the Dons’ sophomore goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel in the game’s 84th minute.

It was the third straight game in which Altschuld had scored a goal. Freshman defender Ashley Cordero and junior midfielder Nikki Pappalardo were credited with assists on the goal.

Junior goalkeeper Michelle Craft earned the shutout for the Toreros and saved five shots, including a diving effort in the 22nd minute to deny the Dons an early lead.

The weekend was not as kind to the Toreros as the loss to Santa Clara put their hot streak to an end. It was also senior day at Torero Stadium, marking the last career home games for senior defenders Jacey Birtcher and Meghan O’Rourke as well as midfielders Jenna Owens and Mariah Butera.

Birtcher, a transfer from Denver University, scored her first goal as a Torero in a big moment. It came in the Sept. 21 match against the No. 19 University of Oklahoma Sooners, a goal which made USD lead 2-0 and effectively sealed the upset victory.

O’Rourke, who attended nearby Torrey Pines High School, was also essential in the win over Oklahoma. She was named WCC Player of the Week on Sept. 22, an award well-deserved after leading the defense to the shutout against the Sooners as well as a 2-0 win over the No. 20 San Diego State University Aztecs that week.

O’Rourke reflected on her time at USD, tweeting: “Through the ups and downs, I am so very blessed and thankful to be a Torero!”

O’Rourke was named to the All-WCC second team in 2013 in addition to the All-WCC freshman team in 2011.

Owens transferred to USD as a junior from the University of Georgia, and made the WCC Honor Roll in her first season. During that season Owens netted a game-winning goal against Pacific, as well as an assist in a win against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.

Butera ended her Torero career on a high note, scoring a goal in her last ever home game. She has scored at least one goal in each of her four seasons at USD, and as freshmen she and O’Rourke were vital parts of a team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The seniors will play their last games on the road, as the regular season concludes with the team traveling to play the Pacific Tigers, Saint Mary’s College Gaels and Loyola Marymount Lions.