Volleyball: Dons Outdueled By Saint Mary’s and Pacific

It was a rough week for the Dons, who dropped a pair of road matches against Saint Mary’s and Pacific to fall to 11-15 (7-9 WCC) on the season. On Saturday, the Dons had difficulty matching the Gaels’  offensive firepower, losing in straight sets at McKeon Pavilion.

The Dons hung tight in the first set, and were tied with St. Mary’s at 16-16 before the Gaels took control to take the set 25-20.

USF got off to a quick start in the second set, taking the lead 6-4 on a kill from freshman outside hitter Katarina Pilepic. The match was later tied at 11-11 before a 7-1 put the Gaels in the driver’s seat. Saint Mary’s (15-9, 11-5) won the set 25-17 and continued to shut down the Dons in the third set, which they took by the same score.

Junior middle blocker Valentina Zaloznik finished with a team-high eight kills for San Francisco, and senior setter Mackenzie Murtagh led the Dons with 17 assists. In the match, the Dons had just 29 total kills compared to 46 for Saint Mary’s.

Thursday’s Nov. 14 game in Stockton, Calif. also saw the Dons struggle offensively against the Pacific

Tigers.The Dons won the first set 25-23 in a close set that featured 15 ties. With the two teams locked at 23, kills from senior outside hitter Malina Terrell and Pilepic gave the Dons a 1-0 lead.

Pacific kept its composure despite the early deficit, and took the second set 25-20 after claiming the lead for good at 9-8. In the crucial third set, the Dons fell flat, and Pacific led all the way to emerge with a 25-18 win.

In the fourth set, dominant play from Pacific’s Gillian Howard put the Tigers ahead 17-9 and had them smelling victory. However, the Dons still had some fight left in them, and a USF comeback brought the score to 21-18. Junior middle blocker Valentina Zaloznik kept the Dons alive with a much-needed kill that got them within 24-22, but Pacific (12-15, 5-11) secured the final point on the next play, and the Tigers walked off the court with a 3-1 win.

The Dons have two games left in their season, both of them home matches. USF plays Pepperdine on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 p.m., and finishes up the year with a match against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 1:00 p.m.

Cody Doolin gets past Nevada’s Cole Huff on his way to the basket. (Photo by Emily Bogden)

Men’s Basketball: Doolin’s Dominance Overshadowed by Tough Loss to Nevada

In an extremely hard-fought battle between two strong offensive squads, it was the University of Nevada, Reno Wolfpack that came out on top over USF on Friday, Nov. 16. Nevada edged the Dons 92-90, and the tight loss dwarfed what was a fantastic night for senior point guard Cody Doolin, who scored a career-high 33 points. Doolin’s previous career-high in points scored was 28 against St. Mary’s in the 2012 WCC Championship Tournament.

On Monday, The Dons stumbled out of the gate, trailing 25-13 early before recovering to take a 44-39 lead going into halftime. However, Idaho State

USF and Nevada fought until the very end, with the game featuring seven lead changes and many dramatic moments. The Dons excelled on offense in the first half; USF shot 6-for-14 on three-point shots and had a 36-26 lead with 4:16 remaining. The Dons eventually settled with a 43-41 lead at halftime.

San Francisco built a 55-44 lead with 16:04 left in the game, but Nevada came storming back. The Dons could not find a way to stop Wolfpack senior Deonte Burton, who repeatedly broke down the USF defense in the second half. Burton scored 31 points in the game, and 23 of them came in the second half. In less than five minutes of play, the Wolfpack had erased the double digit deficit to take a 63-62 lead with 11:30 remaining in the game.

The game went back and forth until a three-pointer by Burton put Nevada up 75-72 and gave them the lead for good. Still, USF had their opportunities to break through numerous times. With 57.1 seconds remaining in the game, Doolin sped through every Nevada player to make a clutch layup to shorten Nevada’s lead to 90-87. After Nevada was called for a 10-second backcourt violation, Doolin was fouled and made a pair of free throws. Then, with 8.3 seconds remaining, Wolfpack freshman DJ Fenner missed two free throws to keep the score at 92-90 and give the Dons one last chance.

After USF called a timeout, Doolin raced toward the other side of the court only to have the ball stripped by senior Jerry Evans Jr. of Nevada. The Wolfpack kept control of the ball for the remaining seconds and won the game.

Even with the loss, it was hard to overlook Doolin’s presence on the court. He finished the night shooting 12-for-17 overall, and went 3-for-4 on three-point shots and 6-for-8 on free throws.

“(Nevada is) a really a good team, and they play really physical,” Doolin said. “It was a really hard-fought game, and unfortunately we just didn’t come out on top.”

This was the second straight game for the Dons in which they played a very intense, down-to-the wire contest against a physical team. However, USF could not post another close victory as they did against Cleveland State on Nov. 14, as Nevada used their physicality to their advantage, winning the rebounding battle 39-34.

“I missed a few block outs there, and the whole team just needed to rebound a little better. I thought that was the key, they just out-rebounded us tonight,” Doolin said.

While Doolin racked up the points, the rest of the Dons could not follow up his excellent performance. Junior guard Matt Glover and sophomore forward Mark Tollefsen were the only others to reach double digits, with each scoring 10 points. Also, sophomore guard Tim Derksen and senior forward Cole Dickerson missed a couple of three-point shots late in the game that could have shifted the momentum in the Dons’ favor.

The Dons know that they will have to play better late in games in order to thrive in conference play. For now, USF will go on the road for two games to face Montana at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 22 and Oregon at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 24.

Photo by Emily Bogden

Eric Causey fought through illness at the West Regionals in Sacramento, finishing 11th and making history as the first men’s cross country runner to qualify for the NCAA Championships. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

A Cold Can’t Stop Eric Causey, First USF Man Ever to Compete at Nationals

Breaking school records in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter distances his freshman season wasn’t enough for Eric Causey, who is now the first men’s cross country runner  ever to represent USF at the NCAA Division I Championships.

Causey, a sophomore from Encinitas, Calif., finished 11th in the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento on Friday, Nov. 15. He completed the 10,000-kilometer course (6.2 miles) in 29:56, despite feeling ill on race day and the five days beforehand. As one of the top four finishers from a non-qualifying team, Causey earned an individual invitation to the national championship race in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 23.

It wasn’t the best time to get sick, but the resilient 20-year-old didn’t let it affect his attitude toward what could have been his last race of the season, had he not done as well as he did.

“The sickness definitely made the race a lot more challenging than I had thought it would be, but I kept a very positive view on it and just accepted the given situation and

knew I would give it my best,” Causey said. “I felt like I was breathing in little needles because of how [the dry weather] felt on the back of my throat. [But] I never questioned my potential and I knew that I was going to leave it all out on the course.”

Causey will be the first male Don to ever compete in the national race, and is the first individual qualifier from USF. The women have qualified as a team for the past three  years.

“I always knew it was in reach, whether this year or in the future, so when I found out there was a huge sense of satisfaction knowing I met one of my big goals for this year,” Causey said. “I feel very honored to get to compete with all the top runners in the nation and I’m planning on this pesky cold to be gone by the time of the race!”

As a team, USF finished 16th overall out of the 27 teams in the West Region to complete their season. After Causey, redshirt junior Adam Smith was the next Don to cross the finish line, coming in at 32:05. He was followed by junior Jarrett Moore, senior Jimmy McManus and sophomore Nick Hicks who came in all within three seconds of each other. Freshman Tom Bradley and senior Gustavo Mena rounded out the Dons squad for the day. While Causey prepares for the national race, the rest of the Dons look ahead to the upcoming track and field season in the spring.

Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics

Rachel Howard drives the ball against a Long Beach State defender. In the Dons’ double overtime loss to the 49ers, Howard was the team’s top scorer with 16 points. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Winston Hits Clutch Shot, But Dons Lose Double-OT Nail-Biter to 49ers

The Dons fell to the Long Beach State 49ers on Sunday, Nov. 18 at War Memorial Gym. The 85-82 loss was a heartbreaking one for the Dons, who fought through two overtime periods but could not hold on late.

San Francisco dueled with Long Beach State throughout the game, with the two teams trading the lead back and forth until the beginning of the second half. The Dons were finally able to open up a 10-point lead thanks to an 11-0 run led by junior Jamie Katuna. The 5-foot-7-inch guard reeled off nine straight points within the first three minutes of the second half.

San Francisco had 28 turnovers that led to 27 points for Long Beach State. Head coach Jennifer Azzi said of the turnovers, “It’s very hard to win if you turn the ball over 28 times, and they were, in my mind, unforced turnovers. That’s something that we absolutely have to fix and, we had talked about it at halftime of the game” (usfdons.com).

The double digit lead soon vanished when San Francisco began committing many careless turnovers. The 49er’s responded to the scoring run of the Dons with a 13-3 run of their own to tie the game at 46, and by continuing their newfound energy, they were able to take a 60-55 lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Long Beach State capitalized on USF’s miscues all game long, scoring a total of 27 points off of the Dons’ 28 turnovers.

“It’s very hard to win if you turn the ball over 28 times, and they were, in my mind, unforced turnovers, Head Coach Jennifer Azzi told USFDons.com. “That’s something that we absolutely have to fix, and we had talked about it at halftime of the game.”

In the final minute of the game that San Francisco sophomore forward Taylor Proctor swished a three point shot, cutting the 49er’s lead to only two points. The Dons were then able to come up with a huge defensive stop, and during their next possession the ball found the hands of  junior guard Taj Winston, who drained a three with 7.1 seconds remaining to tie the score. Long Beach had one more chance to respond, but they could not convert and the game headed into overtime.

In the first overtime, the 49ers quickly jumped out to a five-point lead. However, USF kept the score close throughout the five-minute period, Proctor sunk two free throws with 10.3 seconds to go, tying the game once again.

In the second overtime, Winston and Howard were able to score earlier in the period, but it was the 49er’s that came out on top in the end. The Dons took an 82-80 lead with 2:29 left, but Long Beach State scored the game’s last five points to win the contest 85-82. Howard scored a team-high 16 points, and Winston trailed closely behind with 15 points. In total, five Dons scored in double figures, yet the turnovers the team committed got them into a deficit that they could not quite come back from.

“I’m not happy about turnovers and mistakes, but two overtimes, our team not giving up – there’s a lot of the effort stuff that I’m proud of,” Azzi told USFDons.com.

The score of USF’s game at San Jose State on Wednesday, Nov. 20th available at press press time. The Dons now have a nine-day break until they participate in the Cal Poly Holiday Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where they will take on UC Davis on Nov. 29 at 5:00 p.m., and then Cal Poly on Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics

Eminem Revisits His Roots in “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”

Whether you know Eminem as Marshall Mathers or Slim Shady, the Detroit rapper has blown fans and critics away again with the release of his eighth studio album “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.”

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Eminem began his rapping career when he released his debut album “Infinite” in 1996. Although it only sold 1,000 copies, Eminem was not deterred from releasing his second rapping attempt successfully in 1999. That year, he introduced his infamous alter ego Slim Shady with “The Slim Shady LP,” which officially put him on the music map.

Eminem has been labeled one of the best selling artists in the world. He is a member of the  Rolling Stones’ “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list, and has won a total of 244 awards, including 13 Grammys and an Academy Award.

After releasing his album “Recovery” in 2010, Eminem stayed under the radar until he tweeted in 2013 that he would be releasing his latest album this fall. Since the announcement, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year. However, it is unlike what most fans have come to expect from the rapper. Instead of taking on his alter ego Slim Shady again, Eminem revisits the material from the first “Marshall Mathers LP,” referencing many of his old songs. The album includes 16 tracks and collaborations with well-known artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, and Fun’s lead singer Nate Ruess.

The album begins with “Bad Guy,” a continuation of his critically acclaimed “Stan.” It follows the new antagonist Matthew, the little brother of the departed, crazed fan Stan. The narrator is Matthew, who plans to avenge his fallen brother by blaming Eminem for his death. The song has eerie similarities between the old and new, and even contains direct references from the first song that will make your jaw drop.

Another song that will soon top the charts is “Love Game,” which is a collaboration between Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. This jam has the witty, upbeat tempo that so many of Eminem’s songs incorporate, along with some obligatory crude humor. Both rappers come together and it is obvious that they are simply just having fun, which makes the song more enjoyable.

Finally, “Headlights,” featuring Nate Ruess, is possibly the most emotional and thought-provoking song on the album. The song has a slow and intense beat, but it is the lyrics that will stop you in your tracks. “Headlights” is Eminem’s apology song to his mother Debbie Mathers. He openly apologizes for his old song “Cleaning Out the Closet,” a very vicious diss track aimed at her, and states that he “cringes when it comes on the radio.” He uses this opportunity to ask for forgiveness, admitting that she did not deserve his constant abuse. The song will bring tears to your eyes. The lyrics are heart-wrenching, and when listening to it, you feel this new connection unfold.

“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” was released on November 5, and it has since stayed at #1 on iTunes top albums. The album is the perfect way to finally put Eminem’s old self to rest.

Culturescape Transports Audience Around the World in Two Hours

ISA President Koyel Samtani, Vice President Tram Tran, and ISA advisor Marcella Deproto were MCs for this year’s Culturescape. (Photo by Binh Tran-Tu)

ISA President Koyel Samtani, Vice President Tram Tran, and ISA advisor Marcella Deproto were MCs for this year’s Culturescape. (Photo by Binh Tran-Tu)

The Hawaiian Ensemble performed two dance pieces that are both from Hawaiian and Tahitian culture.

The Hawaiian Ensemble performed two dance pieces that are both from Hawaiian and Tahitian culture.

The VarCity SF dance crew takes the stage by storm.

The VarCity SF dance crew takes the stage by storm.

Showcasing the various cultures of India, the Indian Student Organization performed a fusion of traditional and contemporary Indian dances like Bhangra, Garba and Bollywood.

Showcasing the various cultures of India, the Indian Student Organization performed a fusion of traditional and contemporary Indian dances like Bhangra, Garba and Bollywood.

At the end of the evening, all Culturescape performers came out on-stage for well-earned applause.

At the end of the evening, all Culturescape performers came out on-stage for well-earned applause.

Students went to McLaren Hall after the performances at the Presentation Theatre to feast on Filipino, Indian, Brazillian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese, and Salvadoran food.

Students went to McLaren Hall after the performances at the Presentation Theatre to feast on Filipino, Indian, Brazillian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese, and Salvadoran food.

All photos by Binh Tran-Tu