ART U Women’s Golf: Academy of Art University’s golf phenom, Anahi Servin, continues to reign as one of the top golfers in Division II. The sophomore punched her ticket to Nationals by finishing as the highest-placed individual not on a team advancing to the finals at this weekend’s NCAA Super Regionals, tying for fifth with her cumulative 7-over-par 220. Servin — the PacWest champion — came in fifth at the Super Regional.
The Urban Knights as a team finished fifth out of the top 12 teams in the West and South Central regions, the highest finish for the women’s golf team, but just outside the cutoff to advance to team nationals.
USF men’s soccer: The Dons’ new head coach Leonard Griffin went across the city to bring in one of the top young soccer minds in the Bay Area, snatching up San Francisco State and SF Glens FC USL League 2 head coach Javier Ayala-Hil. The former Cal forward has years of experience both playing and coaching at multiple levels in the Bay Area, and coached alongside Ayala-Hil when the latter was an assistant coach for his alma mater.
Ayala-Hil was four-time letter winner and First Team All-Pac-10 honoree with the Golden Bears, and was drafted in the second round of the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft by Chivas USA. He played professionally for Bayamon FC in Puerto Rico and Luckenwalde FSV 63 in Germany’s Oberliga, before returning to coach high school soccer at Miramonte in Orinda, and then joined Cal’s coaching staff. During his time in Berkeley, the Bears went 34-18-5, were ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014. In 2013, the Bears were ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation for six weeks and went 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
During Ayala-Hil’s three seasons at San Francisco State, he earned the CCAA Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2017 after guiding the team to a CCAA Championship Semifinals. That same year, he led the Gators to a program’s best start in school history, going 5-0, and clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 1978.
SF State baseball snubbed: For the first time in history, all 13 SF State spring teams made their conference tournaments. The Golden Gators overcame a season spent almost entirely on the road — 32 of 40 conference games were played away from San Francisco due to soggy field conditions — and still managed to not only make the CCAA Tournament, but to hang around in the West Regional rankings for the entire season. Despite a strong performance in their conference tournament, though, the Gators (25-21-1) were snubbed from the Division II NCAA Tournament.
The Gators did their level best to make an impression, though, besting No. 4 UC San Diego and beating Stanislaus State 8-5 to earn a rematch with No. 21 Cal State Monterey Bay in an elimination game on Friday. After pulling ahead 5-1 in the first three innings, teh Gators saw the Otters come back and tie things up with a four-run fourth, but Brady Dorn answered in the bottom of the frame with a two-run homer. After three more Monterey Bay runs against the SF State bullpen, the Gators tied things up in the bottom of the seventh with an Antone Self triple, and an RBI groundout by catcher Jason Hare.
With two outs in the ninth with a man in scoring position, San Francisco State reliever Jack Higgins got ahead 0-2 to Brian Morley, but Morley fisted a hanging slider to left to put the Otters ahead for good. The Gators got a man to third on a walk, wild pitch and a bunt, but Hare chased a high fastball and Gonzales grounded out to the pitcher end it.
SF State softball falls in Tournament: After appearing in the NCAA Division II Touranment for the first time since 2006, the Gators beat Western Oregon 6-3 to open the Regional, but then fell 5-3 to No. 9 Concordia, the Regional host, and then 1-0 to Western Oregon. The Gators finished the season 39-20 overall and 26-13 in conference. Freshman Brylynn Vallejos (a national player of the year candidate) earned NFCA All-West Region First-Team honors, and sophomore outfielder Andrea Hilden was named to the 2019 Google Cloud NCAA Division II Academic All-District First Team, after sporting a .321 average and a 3.98 GPA in mechanical engineering.
D2CCAA Recognizes ART U’s Henderson (ART U Softball): All-PacWest Third Team honoree Lauryn Henderson became the third Urban Knight ever to receive selection to the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Region Teams. The sophomore catcher owns the second-highest slugging percentage in the West Region (.802) and fifth-highest on-base percentage (.500) while leading the PacWest in home runs (10) and ranking second in batting average (.423).