Oracle insight: Top athletes for 2009-10

With baseball season ending last Friday, the sporting year takes a hiatus until September, when the football team begins a new era under first-year head coach Skip Holtz.

Having time to reflect, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the stellar individual seasons throughout USF sports.

Here is the first part of the countdown of USF’s 10 most prolific athletes of the 2009-10 athletic season.

10) B.J. Daniels, football quarterback

Quarterback play didn’t drop off at all when Daniels replaced Matt Grothe, who tore his ACL in the third game last season. In just his second career start, Daniels led USF to its first victory over one of Florida’s “Big Three,” when the Bulls defeated Florida State in Tallahassee in September. Not only did Daniels, a redshirt freshman last year, throw the ball adequately (14 touchdowns, 9 interceptions), he led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns. Daniels was the only player in USF and Big East history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 in a single game, accomplishing the feat against Louisville.

9) Jeff Attinella, men’s soccer goalie

A stalwart goalkeeper ever since he stepped on campus, Attinella had his best season in 2009, when he helped USF to a 14-4-3 record and a top 10 ranking for most of the season. One year after he amassed 10 shutouts in 20 games as a sophomore, Attinella led the Big East with 101 saves last season.  He was tabbed conference Goalkeeper of the Year by Big East coaches. Attinella led the Bulls to their first Big East championship in 2008.

8) Jessica Lawson, women’s basketball center

Lawson, who was granted a sixth season of college eligibility before the 2009-10 season, made the most of it, leading the Bulls to their seventh consecutive postseason appearance despite several key players missing from the team for various reasons. Lawson, who was key in leading USF to a WNIT championship in 2009, was sixth in the Big East in scoring (14.5 points per game) and second in rebounding (10.5 per game) in 2009-10. She was the only player in the conference to average a double-double last season while also accumulating 1.4 blocks per game, which was sixth in the conference.

7) Randy Fontanez, baseball starting pitcher

The Preseason Big East Pitcher of the Year, Fontanez didn’t disappoint in 2010. A year after garnering all-Big East first-team honors as a sophomore, Fontanez picked up right where he left off as the Bulls No. 1 starter, leading the conference in strikeouts (105), shutouts (2) and complete games (4) this season. Fontanez was sixth in the conference with a 3.59 ERA. He also threw the third no-hitter in USF history against Notre Dame on March 26.

6) Kion Wilson, football linebacker

Wilson was arguably USF’s best defensive player last season. A former community college player, Wilson totaled 171 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss in just two seasons. He started 12 games last year, leading the team with 105 tackles and finishing fourth in the conference. Against FSU, Wilson split his hand and required 26 stitches, which he received in the first half before returning in the second to help USF to victory. He signed a free- agent contract with the San Diego Chargers after going undrafted in April.

— For No.’s 1-5, pick up Monday’s Oracle