Tag Archives: Dons

USF Athletes Take Stand Against Sexual Assault with #iAspire for Her Campaign

Hayden Gehr
Staff Writer

When USF junior Nick Hicks, a cross country and track and field athlete, opened the box that was sitting in his locker, he found a single role of athletic tape and a pen. These two items did not appear too notable on the surface, but they held a powerful, relevant significance. Inside this box was Hicks’ chance to join an effort to raise awareness of sexual assault against women, and this was not an opportunity he was going to pass up. Continue reading USF Athletes Take Stand Against Sexual Assault with #iAspire for Her Campaign

DON On The Street

Katie Ward
Staff Writer

Earlier this week, a San Francisco UberX driver was arrested for assaulting a passenger with a hammer after being accused of taking a longer route to rack up charges. District attorneys in San Francisco have threatened Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar with potential legal action, claiming that the supposed background checks provided by the services are not valid or held up to city public transportation standards.

Have you ever felt unsafe in a ride-sharing experience? Do these recent events make you question the security of ride-sharing? Will you continue to use these services? Why or why not? Continue reading DON On The Street


Meianna Oeser
Staff Writer

The Dons allowed zero goals last weekend, displaying their suffocating defense in a 3-0 rout of San Jose State (2-6-0) and a scoreless draw against undefeated UC Davis (2-0-7). USF recorded its first tie of the season against the Aggies, bringing its record to 5-2-1. Continue reading Men’s Soccer: DONS STIFLE SPARTANS, CAN’T FINISH AGGIES


Nicholas Welsh
Staff Writer

In the opening match of West Coast Conference play, USF (8-5) dominated the Santa Clara Broncos (10-4), winning three straight sets in commanding fashion. The Dons looked calm and collected throughout the match, winning by an average of six points each set. Continue reading Volleyball: DONS BUCK BRONCOS IN STRAIGHT SETS

Volleyball: 2014 Dons Prevail in Alumni Game, Ready for New Season

Andrew Noerr  
Staff Writer

The Dons can put a check mark next to their final test before the new season begins. USF held its annual alumni game on Saturday at War Memorial Gym, and swept the alumni in three sets by winning 27-25, 25-22, 25-23. The game featured the 2014 USF team taking on an assortment of former Dons volleyball players, and while it serves more as a fun and traditional event rather than a must-win contest, the 2014 squad still treated the game as a legitimate battle and a good warmup for the regular season. “It was a great atmosphere today, and had a real game feel,” head coach Gilad Doron told usfdons.com. “The alumni played very well and pushed our current team’s play, which was very important for us. Our players can learn from the game, and I hope it will help them build their trust and confidence in one another before we start the season next week.” The USF alumni were neck and neck with the 2014 squad in all three sets, and perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone considering the amount of talent that was present on this year’s alumni team. Some standout names from this year’s group include former All-West Coast Conference player Carly Babin Biolasky, 2007 WCC Defensive Player of the Year Haley Caroll and USF’s Most Valuable Player in 2012, Leanna Ludes. “After graduation, people go back home or go on other adventures,” Ludes told usfdons.com. “This is a time to reconnect, reminisce and have a good time with other alumni, whether you shared the court at the same time or not.” Now that the alumni match is behind them, the current Dons team is ready to embark on the journey that is the 2014 season. USF will be hosting the San Francisco Invitational on Friday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Aug. 30. The other teams competing in the tournament are Georgia, Fordham, and SMU, and the first match for the Dons will be against the SMU Mustangs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. USF will then battle Fordham on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and Georgia at 7:00 p.m. that night. “I’ve heard that (the Dons have) got a good squad this year, and a lot of talent that could make them a very powerful unit this season,” Ludes said. 

Head Coach Eddie Soto Headlines New-Look Dons Squad

Hayden Gehr Staff Writer

The Dons’ first-year head coach Eddie Soto has seemingly excelled at every level of soccer. He was a collegiate star at Cal State-Fullerton in the early 1990’s, a member of the USA Pro Beach Soccer Team, and an assistant coach for the past eight years at UCLA, which earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Foghorn’s Hayden Gehr met with Soto to discuss the start to the season, the team’s new mentality, and the importance of fan support.

coachOn Wednesday’s win at UC Berkeley:

It’s a scrimmage, it’s hard to get too excited about it. But as a starting point, it was good. There was a lot of good things that came from the game, and some things that we really need to work on some more, so it was a good test. Obviously, we’re heading to Madison (Wisconsin) next week, and they’re going to be a really tough opponent, so it was good to play a team like Cal to see what we need to work on.

On applying his UCLA coaching experience at USF:

Wherever you coach, you take the good and bad to help develop you into the coach you want to be. The time I spent at UCLA was great, and I learned a lot about coaching, about managing, about being a better person, and I’m putting all of those things together here to help develop my brand to this program.

On respecting USF soccer’s history and making his own imprint:

It’s important to know the history and respect the history, but I need to keep working on what I’m doing here now. I don’t want our guys or myself to forget what’s been done here, but it was a different time. You know, the game is different, it evolved from when they were coaching here. It’s our opportunity, we’re the stewards of the ship now, and we’re going to do the best we can to compete and hopefully put a product on the field that everybody’s proud of.

On the team’s new mindset:

When I got hired, the one thing I really focused on was changing our mentality, you know, what guys brought every day to training. So it was good to see that, during the spring, the guys really bought in, and really committed themselves off the field. I think the lifestyles that some of these guys lived weren’t suited for a Division 1 athlete, so it was nice to see that they recommitted themselves and were refocused on the cause, which was our program. They came into camp fit, and the freshmen that we brought on are really excited, and that’s why they’re here – to help elevate this program back up.

On putting players in positions to score this year:

It’s through training, and putting them in environments in training that resemble the game. Putting a lot of pressure on them in tight spaces within the Final Third, and training in a lot of game-like situations. Again, everything comes down to what we do on the practice field, and hopefully, that will translate into a game. The practice sessions are key, and what we put together for them is very important.

On what fans can expect to see from the team this season:

I think (fans can expect) a more exciting brand of soccer. We all witnessed the great World Cup this summer, and we all enjoy watching entertaining, attacking soccer. And our fans, our community, our alumni are going to be able to come to a game and sit down and enjoy good soccer, attacking soccer. Hopefully, with that brand comes some wins, so we’ll see.

On increasing attendance at games:

We’d really like to get our student body out and supporting this soccer team. One of our goals as staff here is to fill our stadium and get some people into the stands. Our guys are doing a lot to work on that, our staff is going to be working a lot with the community. We’d really like to get our stadium going, and obviously we know we need to win and put a good product on the field, but if we can get some support, these guys need it. We want to make it a fun, lively environment for our fans, and for our players to play in.

“51 Dons” Tells Tale of USF’s Historic Football Team

Running back Ollie Matson had a magnificent 1951 season for the Dons, finishing first in the country in touchdowns. Matson would go on to play for 14 years in the NFL and compete as a runner in the 1952 Summer Olympics. (Photo featured in  a 1951 Foghorn Issue)

USF students crowded around the three television screens on the University Center first floor on Sunday to watch “‘51 Dons”, an ESPN documentary covering the story of the 1951 USF football team that pulled off a 9-0 season and refused to play in a bowl game without its two African American players.

The screening event, which was held by Los Locos, USF’s student spirit group, was a popular place for students and other viewers to join together on a rainy afternoon. Los Locos provided food and beverages, and spectators were given shirts that read “I Stand With The ‘51 Dons” before sitting down to learn about a team that has a special place in USF history, and also had a profound impact on the movement towards racial equality in the mid-1900s.

The 1951 Dons football team was one of the most dominant of its era. Aside from finishing the season unbeaten, nine San Francisco players from the squad would go on to play in the NFL, and three would be inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame. While it is easy to list the Dons’ team and individual achievements from their illustrious season, even more impressive was the players’ choice to support their teammates and challenge racial inequality through their inaction.

After defeating Loyola University to complete their perfect year, it seemed certain that the Dons would receive an invitation to one of college football’s most decorated bowl games. Indeed, this turned out to be true, as USF was asked to compete in the Orange Bowl against Baylor. However, the request came with a catch: The Dons would be allowed to play in the Orange Bowl, but only if their pair of African American players, Ollie Matson and Burl Toler, were left behind. Upon hearing this, the band of brothers that made up the USF team immediately refused, making it clear that their close relationships with two of the team’s most talented and respected players meant much more to them than playing in the season’s defining game. Interestingly, USF’s decision was kept under wraps, and Georgia Tech was selected to play Baylor in an effort to make it look like the Dons were never chosen in the first place.

ESPN’s documentary, which was directed by Ron Luscinski, focuses on Matson and Toler, as well as star players Gino Marchetti and Ed Brown, as the Dons stormed through the 1951 season leaving all opponents in the dust. “‘51 Dons” also looks at the effect that the team’s decision has had on racial segregation in professional sports, as well as the aftermath of the 1951 season and the lasting friendships and bonds formed by the players. With a wide range of interviews, the documentary features insights from current USF staff, including President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. and Visiting Professor Clarence B. Jones. Other voices include Bob St. Clair, an offensive tackle on the 1951 team, and members of Matson and Toler’s families.

The audience at the viewing party laughed at St. Clair’s jokes, stared in awe as Matson’s incredible speed was showcased, and became emotional upon seeing pictures from the final time that Matson and Toler saw each other before they passed away. The film’s end credits were met with a resounding applause, and students left having gained valuable knowledge regarding a memorable part of the school’s history.

Junior psychology major and Los Locos member Olivia Traina learned a lot about USF’s past from the documentary.

“[Before], I definitely didn’t know the details of the whole situation, of the dynamics between the players themselves and what a tight-knit team they were, and also how big football was at USF for a while and how it had to come to an end because of an event like this,” Traina said. “But it’s really amazing how this fit into the whole scheme of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Others found themes in “‘51 Dons” that they could apply to modern-day USF and use to view the school’s current position from a new perspective.

“It’s really great to be able to look back and see something so important and so inspiring that we can all share,” Los Locos President Laticia Lonon said. “For whatever reason, we all happen to come [to USF], and it’s easy to complain about a hefty tuition or not liking certain aspects of what’s going on at school. But, at the end of it we came here for a reason, and I think it’s really inspiring that we can see where we came from and where we’re going, and how these are being paralleled.”

Many people likely heard about the 1951 San Francisco football team for the first time when they watched “‘51 Dons” on Sunday. Regardless, the often overlooked story of a squad that valued its camaraderie more than anything and elected to stand above racial discrimination has been felt throughout the sports world for the last 63 years. The 1951 football team’s refusal to play in the Orange Bowl has played no small part in decreasing the presence of racism in professional sports and also in the United States as a whole, and the team’s decision still epitomizes USF’s core values to this day.

“We are a school that shows a lot about how diverse we are and how diverse our city is,” junior communications major Brittany Silveira said. “I think the slogan ‘Change the World from Here’ – how they showed in the documentary that they did it before all the Civil Rights movements were going on – it just shows that they took a stand for what they believed in, and followed what the whole mission statement of USF is about.”

Men’s Basketball: Dons Down Toreros, Drop Close Contest to Cougars

The Dons continued their three-game road trip on Saturday, Feb. 8, visiting the Brigham Young Cougars. BYU was the West Coast Conference coming into the game with a per-game average of 86.7, but USF limited the Cougars to only 68. Unfortunately, the Dons only put up 63 points themselves.

A major rebounding deficiency for USF (15-10, 8-5 WCC) played a big part in the game, as BYU (16-9, 8-4 WCC) outrebounded the Dons 47 to 29, including 20 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points. A positive takeaway from the Dons’ loss was the 7-for-8 shooting night from sophomore guard Tim Derksen, who led the Dons in scoring with 17 points off the bench.

“Tim [Derksen] was phenomenal. I love his toughness and aggressiveness. You know where his heart is and what he is about,” head coach Rex Walters told usfdons.com.

On Thursday, the Dons put forth a strong effort that resulted in a 74-67 comeback victory over San Diego. Rallying from a 10-point deficit late in the second half, the Dons put together a 28-11 run to seal the game.

Four Dons registered double-figures in points, including senior forward Cole Dickerson’s pace-setting 21 points. Sophomore guard Avry Holmes had 15 and Derksen finished with 13 off the bench. Junior forward Kruize Pinkins also finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and hauling in 11 important rebounds which lead to the Dons’ 38-35 rebounding advantage.

The game was highly contested from the opening tip, and the Dons went to halftime hanging onto a 34-30 lead. However, the Toreros came out aggressive in the second half and turned their four-point deficit into a 10-point lead. The run was capped by a three-pointer from Johnny Dee, who led San Diego with 18 points.

The turning point for the Dons arrived on the following possession as Derksen answered with a three-pointer of his own that cut the lead to seven, but more importantly ignited a 12-2 Dons run that put them back in the game. The Dons closed out strong, turning a 61-58 deficit into a 68-61 lead which was never lost despite the Toreros staying in contention till the end. With eight seconds remaining in the game and the score at 72-67, Holmes sank two game-deciding free throws and sealed San Diego’s fate.

The Dons shot 50% from the field, making up for their deficiencies at the free-throw line, where they only shot 47.6% as a team.

The Dons’ defensive effort also contributed largely to their victory.

“I was really proud of our defensive effort, especially at the end of the game,” Walters told usfdons.com. “We made some key stops when we needed to and that was the difference. We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game tonight but we found a way to win on the road.”

The Dons’ next game is an key WCC matchup as they travel to Santa Clara to face the Broncos. The game is set for Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8:00 p.m., and will be televised on ESPNU.

Women’s Basketball: Dons Topple Toreros, Fall To Cougars

The Dons ended their 13-game losing streak against San Diego on Thursday night with a 78-74 victory over the Toreros in War Memorial Gym. USF was outrebounded by the Toreros 49-30, but managed to hang on for the win thanks to a career-high 28 points from sophomore guard Zhané Dikes.

USF started the scoring first with a free throw by junior forward Paige Spietz, but San Diego went on a run to go up 15-8. The Dons bounced back fiercely from there though, taking the lead with a 13-4 run that included three-pointers by both Spietz and junior guard Taj Winston. The scoring went back and forth from that point until two free throws and a layup by Dikes at the end of the half left the score 38-32 in the Dons’ favor.

Paige Spietz looks to make a move during San Francisco’s big win against San Diego. Spietz was in top form for the Dons last week, scoring 17 points against USD along with a career-high 18 versus Brigham Young. (Photo by Hamis Al-sharif)
Paige Spietz looks to make a move during San Francisco’s big win against San Diego. Spietz was in top form for the Dons last week, scoring 17 points against USD along with a career-high 18 versus Brigham Young. (Photo by Hamis Al-sharif)

The Toreros came back in the second half, going on a 16-8 run that included two layups by junior guard Brooke Jelniker to give them the lead at 48-46. USF didn’t let them keep it long, however,  and took control of the game, going ahead by as much as 13 heading towards the two-minute mark. San Diego kept pounding on the door as the clock wound down, coming within one point of tying the game, but USF stayed ahead and clinched the victory with three free throws by sophomore forward Taylor Proctor.

The Dons were not rebounding well throughout throughout the game, allowing the Toreros to grab more offensive boards than they grabbed defensive boards. This is what almost sank the Dons, as they allowed 18 second-chance points while only scoring five of their own. When they did rebound the ball, however, they were able to score somewhat efficiently, shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Toreros, on the other hand, shot 35.9 percent from the field and only 28.6 percent from the three-point line.

In addition to her 28 points and 16 made free throws, Dikes tacked on five rebounds. Spietz came in second in scoring for the Dons with 17 points, and led the team in rebounds with eight. Two other Dons, Winston and Proctor, tacked on double-digit points as well with 11 and 12, respectively. For the Toreros, senior guard Amy Kame scored 28 points of her own, in addition to eight rebounds and a game-leading four steals. With this win, the Dons improved their Western Coast Conference record to 4-8.

That record soon became 4-9, however, as the Dons fell to the Brigham Young Cougars 73-66 at home on Sunday. Spietz had her first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and junior guard Aundrea Gordon scored a career-high 17 points. Despite this, the Cougars were able to pull off the win aided in part by their 20 made free throws compared to just 8 by the Dons, who went 53.3 percent from the foul line.

USF is now 9-15 overall. The Dons’ next game will be on Feb. 15 at 2 a.m. in the War Memorial Gym against the Santa Clara Broncos, who are 3-9 in WCC play and have currently lose seven games in a row.

Men’s Baseball: Freshman Baseball Players Prepare for Season

USF has brought in a large pool of talent for the 2014 season, and these three freshmen are ready for the games to begin. 

Matt Sinatro

For freshman utility player Matt Sinatro, a big part of his excitement for the upcoming baseball season goes beyond receiving some playing time.

“One of the reasons I decided to come to USF besides the city was the great coach staff,” Sinatro said. “I knew it was the right fit because they care about you as a person rather than how you perform on the field. It was really warm and welcoming.”

Sinatro is no stranger to the expectations of playing college baseball. His father, Matt Sr., coached under former Major League Baseball manager Lou Piniella for 19 seasons.

The Sammamish, Wash. native accumulated a batting average of .365 during his senior year at Skyline High School, also while leading the team to two conference championships. Sinatro is ready to showcase his abilities for the Dons, and he also has kind words to say about his experiences so far.

“The foundation that’s built here is driven to make you a better person rather than how you perform on the field,” Sinatro said.  “It’s really nice to be a part of that.”

Despite having a rigorous schedule of classes combined with practice, his passion for the game is palpable as he describes the sport with fondness.

“What I like most is the atmosphere that surrounds baseball,” Sinatro said. “It’s definitely a team game and it’s really cool knowing your teammates have your back. It really brings people together.”

Nico Giarratano    Having grown up with his dad as USF’s head baseball coach, Nico Giarratano is especially proud to be a Don.Giarratano is a San Francisco native who was a member of St. Ignatius College Prep’s team that went to the Central Coast Section championship in 2012. He was also named to the San Francisco All-City team and hit .330 to go with 20 RBI’s for the 2012 season. Giarratano is not intimidated by the fact he will be playing under his father, Nino Giarratano, at USF. In fact, he is looking forward to it.

“I’ve been around USF, its culture and its baseball team pretty much my whole life,” Giarratano said. “So growing up, it’s been a dream of mine to come here and play under my dad and it’s been a great experience so far.”

He also has high hopes for the team this season. He maintains that despite hoping they go far, his positivity comes from what is instilled in him and the rest of the team.

“Like we say each day, ‘focus on the important things,’ Giarratano said. “‘Success will come. Strive for excellence and greatness will come.’”

Andy Frakes

Right-handed pitcher Andy Frakes had a rough introduction to baseball, but now he cannot imagine doing anything else.

“In my first game ever I got hit in the chest with a line drive and wanted to quit immediately but I got up and finished the game,” Frakes said. “I have never thought about giving up the game since. I love it.”

Like his teammates, the Sherman Oaks, Calif. native thinks highly of the roster for this year’s baseball team.

“We have a great group of guys that I think have not only the ability but the character to do great things as a team,” Frakes said.

Frakes attended Crespi High School in his hometown, where he enjoyed much success as a pitcher. In his high school career, he put up an excellent 1.94 ERA, made the All-Mission League First Team twice, and once was named the Mission League Player of the Year. Like other Dons freshman, Frakes has found his expectations of playing college baseball have shifted as he has gotten more practice and has become closer to his teammates.

“As a freshman coming in at the beginning all I wanted to do was play baseball,” Frakes said. “Now as the season comes closer my ideas have completely changed. I want to win with this group of guys.”