Category archive: San Diego Toreros
Fresh off scoring the game-winning goal in Notre Dame's 2-1 win against Marquette, senior Amanda Clark held the hardware signifying her place on the all-tournament team. Forced out of the game after a first-half injury, teammate Rose Augustin stood nearby with her arm in a sling, protecting a possible shoulder separation.
Conference tournament title No. 11 didn't come easily for a team that lost numerous key seniors from last season's national finalist, lost the first of many current players to injury before its first game this season and lost the first game in its new stadium by six goals.
"This team's made huge strides since that point," Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum said of a 6-0 loss at home to North Carolina in September. "We've really, really turned the corner. And I feel like we're finally playing the way Notre Dame can play, so I'm real confident about the way we're going into the postseason tournament. It's been difficult because we've done this with a lot of injuries."
It's also done it with a pair of forwards as good as any in the nation, Melissa Henderson and Lauren Fowlkes, who combined for the first goal Sunday. But as the season progressed, it also did it with players such as Clark, a stalwart defensive midfielder for much of her career, filling whatever role the flow of a game required.
"It seems like they've all found a way to do it at the right time," Waldrum said. "It was Amanda today with the big goal to get the winner. It was a defender [Jessica Schuveiller] Friday night to do it against St. John's, and it just seems like we've kind of had that."
And so, as is Notre Dame's way, November rolls on with the promise of more soccer.
Notre Dame can rest easy. For many more teams, the remaining hours until Monday's NCAA tournament selection (ESPNews, 8 p.m. ET) will be a time of tension, apprehension and occasionally hopeful anticipation. Here's one prediction for how things unfold. The numbers included for bubble teams are far from the only factors the selection committee considers, but they annually prove a good cheat sheet.
Automatic: Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Boise State, Boston University, Central Michigan, Colgate, Davidson, Dayton, Denver, Harvard, High Point, Illinois State, IUPUI, Kennesaw State, Loyola (Md.), Memphis, Monmouth, Murray State, North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Portland, San Diego State, South Carolina, Southeastern Louisiana, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, UNC-Wilmington, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Projected first 30 at-large teams: Auburn, Boston College, BYU, California, Central Florida, Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Marquette, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio State, Oregon State, Purdue, Rutgers, Santa Clara, St. John's, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Last Four In:
Record: 12-6-2 (5-2-0 in WCC)
No. 43 RPI
5-5-1 vs. RPI top 100
2-3-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Rutgers, Santa Clara; tied UCLA
Momentum: 6-3-1 in past 10 games
Record: 12-5-3 (5-3-2 in Big Ten)
No. 42 RPI
5-5-3 vs. RPI top 100
3-4-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana; tied Illinois
Momentum: 5-3-2 in past 10 games
Record: 8-8-4 (4-4-2 in ACC)
No. 38 RPI
5-8-3 vs. RPI top 100
3-7-3 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Auburn, Miami, Virginia Tech; tied Florida State, Wake Forest, LSU
Momentum: 4-4-2 in past 10 games
Record: 11-4-4 (4-4-2 in Big Ten)
No. 56 RPI
4-4-3 vs. RPI top 100
3-3-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota; tied Purdue
Momentum: 4-4-2 in past 10 games
First four out:
Record: 12-6-2 (8-2-1 in Conference USA)
No. 32 RPI
5-6-1 vs. RPI top 100
1-3-0 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Washington State; tied Kansas
Momentum: 6-3-1 in past 10 games
Record: 12-8-2 (4-6-0 in Big 12)
No. 52 RPI
4-6-1 vs. RPI top 100
3-2-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat San Diego, Arizona State, Pepperdine, Missouri; tied Colorado College
Momentum: 4-5-1 in past 10 games
Record: 10-7-2 (2-6-2 in Big Ten)
No. 36 RPI
4-7-2 vs. RPI top 100
1-6-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat Florida, Michigan State; tied Illinois
Momentum: 2-6-2 in past 10 games
Record: 16-3-2 (9-0-2 in Atlantic 10)
No. 53 RPI
2-3-1 vs. RPI top 100
0-1-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat William & Mary, NC State; tied Dayton
Momentum: 7-1-2 in past 10 games
Record: 9-7-3 (2-6-1 in Pac-10)
No. 37 RPI
5-6-3 vs. RPI top 100
3-6-1 vs. RPI top 50
Key results: Beat San Diego State, Oregon, Oregon State; tied Virginia
Momentum: 3-6-1 in past 10 games
Auburn: I'll come clean; I wrote off Auburn before the weekend. Sporting a losing record as they prepared for games at Tennessee and home against Georgia, the Tigers were on the precipice of postseason extinction. But after winning both games -- their first all season against top-50 RPI opponents -- they aren't just near the bubble, they're potentially on the right side of it. But they must close the regular season with a win at Alabama next weekend or risk finishing with a losing record in the event of a first-round SEC tournament loss.
Miami: The Hurricanes desperately needed at least four points out of home games against NC State and North Carolina. They managed just that in the unlikeliest manner, beating No. 2 North Carolina 1-0 on Sunday after tying NC State 1-1 on Thursday. It may not be enough. The RPI (43) is strong enough to warrant bubble consideration, but with an 8-8-1 overall record and games remaining at Virginia and Virginia Tech before the ACC tournament, staying at .500 or better will be a chore. But they gave themselves a chance with their fourth win against a top-35 RPI foe.
Oregon State: After watching Stanford take down a very good Washington side by three goals Sunday in Seattle, I'm more convinced than ever that the Pac-10 deserves the attention that could be headed its way with nine teams ranked in the RPI top 35. That said, Oregon State needed Friday's 2-1 win on the road against USC to lend some legitimacy to a record built on a so-so schedule (previously highlighted by wins against Denver and Loyola Marymount and a tie at San Diego State). Take six points from their final four games, and the remade Beavers shouldn't need to worry when the bracket comes out.
San Diego: The toughest team for me to slot at the moment, the Toreros are going to have to leapfrog some teams with better RPI numbers to make the field. They do have a neutral-site win against Rutgers and a tie against UCLA to their credit (they also have ugly losses against Kansas and USC, for what that's worth in the sniff test). But sweeping Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine this weekend, combined with an earlier win against Santa Clara, puts them in the thick of things at the very least.
Virginia: Last season brought the strangeness of an NCAA tournament without mainstays Connecticut and Santa Clara. Virginia looked like the vulnerable traditional power this fall, but while the Cavaliers aren't out of the woods yet, their chances are distinctly more favorable after earning four points with a draw against Wake Forest and a win against Duke. Earlier draws against Arizona State, Maryland and West Virginia plus a win against Hofstra weren't going to get it done, but the profile is now much improved.
Five Teams That Didn't Help The Cause
Minnesota: Tied 1-1 at Michigan; lost 2-1 at Michigan State
California: Lost 1-0 at Washington; lost 2-1 (OT) at Washington State
Colorado: Lost 2-0 at Texas A&M; lost 1-0 (2OT) at Texas
Illinois: Lost 3-0 vs. Ohio State; lost 6-0 at Penn State
South Florida: Lost 1-0 (2OT) at St. John's; lost 3-2 at Syracuse
SoftballPacific versus Nebraska, 8:30 p.m.
Five runs against Pacific on Thursday would give Nebraska its 100th run of the season and a new school record. If the Cornhuskers score five runs, they will have scored 100 runs in a season by their 16th game, faster than any softball squad in school history. The 1978 and 2006 teams each hit the 100-run mark in the 17th game. Nebraska also could break another school record. The Huskers have scored at least eight runs in their past four games to tie the program's longest streak of games with at least eight runs. Scoring eight runs against Pacific would give them a record-setting five straight games.
Women's lacrosseHofstra at No. 1 Northwestern, 7 p.m.
Northwestern seeks its 45th consecutive win at home when it plays Hofstra on Thursday. The Wildcats' 44 consecutive home wins surpassed Maryland's home winning streak from 1997 to 2001 (41 games). Nine of the games in Northwestern's streak were NCAA tournament games, and the last time the Wildcats lost on home turf was a 10-9 overtime loss to Vanderbilt on May 6, 2004.
BaseballSan Diego at No. 10 Rice, 7:30 p.m.
Rice coach Wayne Graham looks to earn his 796th victory when the Owls face San Diego. Graham is 795-303 at Rice with a school-record .724 winning percentage -- the equivalent of a major league ballclub's winning 117 games in one season.