Before we work through our feelings about USF softball's memorable weekend in Tallahassee, we've got a few other postseason results to catch you up on, and some other news items. Let's do the news items first:
- Former USF basketball player Inga Orekhova made her WNBA debut with the Atlanta Dream Saturday night. After not appearing in the season opener, Orekhova saw six minutes of action in an overtime win against Indiana. She missed her only shot from the field, but contributed two blocked shots. She is the first USF alum to play in the WNBA. (Edited to add: since 1999.) Jessica Dickson and Andrea Smith were chosen in the WNBA draft, but have not yet appeared in a game. Wanda Guyton played for Houston a nd Detroit in the late 1990s.
- Some former USF men's basketball players also have joined new teams. Musa Abdul-Aleem has officially signed with Troy of the Sun Belt. Javontae Hawkins, according to his Twitter, has committed to Eastern Kentucky. You may recall that EKU gave Kansas a competitive game in last year's NCAA tournament, and their head coach Jeff Neubauer has been speculated for bigger coaching jobs, including USF at one point. No word on Zach LeDay's new school yet. We wish them all best of luck with their new teams.
- Former USF relief pitcher Kevin Quackenbush has re-re-re-re-rejoined the San Diego Padres. He's been called up and sent down from Triple-A El Paso four different times in less than a month, and returned to the major league roster on May 17. So far his longest stint in the majors has been two whole days. Though with Andrew Cashner on the disabled list, he may stay longer this time.
Recapping post-season results:
- Men's golf finished 10th at the 13-team NCAA Regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas. USF was never really in the running; their first-round 296 (+8 over par), followed by a 7-over 295 on a low-scoring second day, dug too deep a whole for them to challenge for NCAA national qualification, finishing 18 strokes behind fifth-place UCLA (the top five teams qualify for nationals). Trey Valentine posted USF's best individual result, a +5 to usual #1 Chase Koepka's +6.
- Men's tennis made the second round of the NCAA tournament, defeating Florida State 4-2 before losing 4-0 to Florida, both in Gainesville. 47th-ranked player Roberto Cid was the star of the FSU match, winning in both singles and doubles. USF's Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz lost a hard-fought doubles match 8-7, then Cid and Pramming lost three-set singles matches, to secure advancement for Florida. The Florida match was delayed by rain and had to be moved to UF's indoor facility.
On the plus side, Roberto Cid qualified for the 64-player NCAA Singles Tournament, to be held at Athens, Georgia starting May 21. USF coach Matt Hill says this is an important achievement for the USF program, saying
"It’s really important that somebody on our team goes to Athens and sees what the level is like. It’s very important next year as we’re training and preparing, and pushing to get in that top 16 group that someone went there and saw with their own eyes how tough, how physical it is and how the atmosphere is. With Roberto being the one going it’s great because he’s one of the leaders of our team and will be next year as well."
- Women's tennis also played an NCAA Regional match in Gainesville, losing 4-0 to Oklahoma State in the first round. It was over pretty quickly; the Cowgirls (yes, their women's teams are actually called that) won 8-1 and 8-2 in doubles and then 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-2 in singles to quickly secure the 4-0 win. The loss broke a 15-match winning streak for the Bulls.
- In outdoor track and field, the NCAA postseason hasn't started yet, The NCAA East Preliminary Rounds are in Jacksonville May 29-31, and several Bulls athletes are in position to qualify as individuals. The NCAA qualifiers will be announced May 22.
- Sailing will compete in the ICSA National Championships starting May 26. USF is one of 14 teams in the "Western Bracket", of which the top 9 will move on to the championship finals. I haven't analyzed the statistics on this, but I suspect that Navy will be a tough opponent.