Fall outlook: Sizing up sports storylines
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 01:08
Though football is the most attended sport on most college campuses, USF has made an impact in the athletic landscape with their non-football teams. With students back on campus and the fall athletics season underway, The Oracle looks to catch readers up on the key highlights for each the other fall teams.
The Bulls look to fill the large void created with the loss of forward Dom Dwyer, who was drafted by Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. They took their first step towards the change with a solid recruiting class, including another Tyler Junior College product. Samuel Hosseini, a German mid-fielder who played at Tyler, committed to the Bulls, and was joined by forwards Edwin Moalosi and Humberto Bertan, defender Juan Carlos Garcia, conterback Matthew O’Neal, keeper Mike Mitchell and defender Mario Mesen of Costa Rica.
With the departure of senior leaders Chelsea Klotz and keeper Nicole McClure, the Bulls look to shift their leadership to both current veterans and incoming freshmen. While the Bulls’ offense is led by junior Demi Stokes, who led the team with four goals, four assists and 12 points, and senior Taylor Patterson, the defense is led by a fresh face, first-year keeper Christine Endler, who made her mark in her second regular season game, making six saves and picking up a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. The defensive is shored up by the presence of senior Alexandra “Boo” Eagle.
One of the most consistent faces of the USF athletic department was former volleyball coach Claire Lessinger. Due to a family illness, Lessinger was forced to step down from her post, and ushered in a new era of USF volleyball. Courtney Draper, who made history as the youngest coach in NCAA volleyball history when she took on the lead role with the Jacksonville Dolphins, brings big game expertise, making the Division II Tournament five of her eight years at Eckerd, her stop before joining the Bulls.
After the most successful season in school history, when the Bulls made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years and won two games before falling short of the Sweet Sixteen, the USF men’s basketball team had a relatively calm offseason, with little change from their successful 2012 squad. The blow from the departures of seniors Ron Anderson Jr. and Augustus Gil- christ was softened when forward Victor Rudd Jr. decided to remove his name from the list of NBA draft prospects, after initially entering his name into the ring. The main storyline for the Bulls was the return of their home court, in the form of the newly renovated USF Sun Dome, where the team will open their season on Nov. 10, against UCF.
The biggest storyline for the USF women’s basketball team was the return of half of their dynamic duo. After missing a full season due to an ACL injury, senior guard Andrea Smith will make her return to the hardwood when the team opens their season on Nov. 10 against Stetson at 2 p.m., the first of an opening day double header with the men’s team playing afterward. Smith aver- aged 16.5 points per game in 2010, before suffering the injury. She is the twin sister of fellow guard Andrell Smith, who was fourth on the team in 2011 with 8.3 points per game. The Bulls will look to improve on a season that saw two National Invitational Tournament home wins, before a road loss to James Madison ended their season.