Sports: SMU’s wild season ends with semifinal loss to Santa Clara

C-USA

Sports: SMU’s wild season ends with semifinal loss to Santa Clara

Simone Du ToitEnd of the road: The men’s basketball team ended their wild season with an unfortunate, injury-affected loss to Santa Clara at the semifinals of the CIT on Friday, March 25. The Mustangs (20-15), who found a second life after a first-round defeat in the Conference USA Tournament by participating in the relatively unknown CollegeInsider.com Tournament, enjoyed a string of wins against Oral Roberts, Jacksonville and Northern Iowa before losing to the Broncos (23-14) with a final score of 72-55. Senior star Papa Dia suffered an injury resulting from a foul on him with 8:18 left to go in the first half, and did not return for the rest of the game. Robert Nyakundi and Collin Mangrum scored 14 and 13 points respectively, with Nyakundi posting his 3rd double-double of the season. The Mustangs finished their unpredictable season with 20 wins- the first 20-win season since 1999-2000.

Du Toit nabs another award: Junior shot put/discus athlete Simone Du Toit (pictured) nabbed SMU’s second consecutive C-USA Female Track & Field Athlete Of The Week award on Tuesday, March 29. Du Toit, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, picked up a pair of North Texas Spring Classic titles last weekend (March 25-27), recording a discus throw of 55.12 meters and a shot put toss of 16.61 meters. This is Du Toit’s fourth weekly honor of her career, and the first this season. She follows last week’s winner, junior Ayla Gill of Auckland, New Zealand, who recorded a winning toss of 61.70 meters in the hammer throw at the TCU Invitational.

Marta LesniakWeekly Marta Lesniak Dominance Segment: As is becoming usual in the SMU Sports community, junior tennis player Marta Lesniak (pictured) received yet another award this week with a performance strong enough to earn her the C-USA Tennis Athlete of the Week award. Lesniak (No.9 national rank) went 4-0 against nationally-ranked squads from No. 9 Baylor and No. 66 UC Santa Barbara, winning a pair in both singles and doubles competition. Her singles victories were against No.11 Sona Novakova of Baylor (6-4, 4-6, (14-12)) and Natalia Lozano of UCSB (6-2, 6-2). Lesniak also teamed up with junior Aleksandra Malyarchikova for the doubles victories, defeating Baylor with a 9-7 mark and posting an 8-3 mark against UCSB. This is Lesniak’s third award this season and the eighth of her career.

Football still lives: The Mustang football team will kick off a grueling spring training camp on Monday, April 4 to prepare for the upcoming Fall 2011 campaign. Head Coach June Jones is expected to hold 15 practice sessions over 27 days, nearly all of which will be at 7 a.m. Practices will generally be closed to the public, but the final practice of the season is open for anyone to attend and is scheduled for Saturday, April 30.

March 31, 2011|Sports|

Sports: Papa Dia leads SMU Basketball to higher levels

SMU captain Adam StillDia’s game rewards Mustangs: Despite an unfortunate streak-snapping 67-57 loss to rival UTEP on Saturday, Feb. 12, the fact remains the same: This year’s surprising men’s basketball team is in a deadlock battle for the C-USA title. Currently, the Mustangs are tied for fifth in the league (16-9, 7-4 C-USA) with Tulsa (7-4), just one game behind first-place Memphis (8-3). C-USA Player of the Year candidate Papa Dia (fifth in C-USA scoring, third in rebounds, second in blocks) has already won three Player of the Week awards (Nov. 15-21, Jan. 10-16, Jan. 17-23) is a strong component to the team’s recent success. Dia, Head Coach Matt Doherty and the Mustangs face the Golden Hurricane in a crucial league tie-breaker at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 in Moody Coliseum. Tune in to KAAM 770 AM or visit SMUMustangs.com to keep up with the team.

Still’s the guy: Junior Adam Still (pictured right) was named the captain of the No. 8-ranked men’s soccer team for the 2011 season on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The defender helped lead the Mustangs to a 16-2-2 record and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2010. Still was also named to the CoSIDA ESPN Academic All-America Third Team this past season. Still is a two-time Academic All-America District VI Team award recipient and has been named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team. SMU will open the upcoming spring season against MLS championship finalist FC Dallas on Friday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Pizza Hut Park.

Mary AlenbrattGrades and speed: Sophomore Mary Alenbratt (pictured left) and the cross country team received more high honors to add to a stellar season as they received All-Academic Honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday, Feb. 16. To qualify for All-Academic honors, a team must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. SMU easily qualified with a cumulative 3.34 GPA. Alenbratt and the SMU track & field team will be back in action at the C-USA Indoor Championships on Feb. 25-26, hosted by the University of Houston.

Football never dies: SMU announced its 2011-12 C-USA football schedule on Thursday, Feb. 10. Important dates include a Sept. 3 season opener at former Southwest Conference rival Texas A&M, and a home opener with rival UTEP on Sept. 10. SMU will have 4 of 5 games away during a tough stretch in October (away opponents include Memphis, TCU, Southern Miss, and Tulsa, but will be back at home (in cooler Boulevarding temperatures) for 3 of 4 games at home in November (Tulane, Navy, and Rice.) The C-USA Championship game this year is set for Dec. 3. Kickoff times and potential date changes will be set later in the year. The full schedule can be found here.

February 18, 2011|Sports|

Sports: Padron & Co. back on the winning track

Aldrick RobinsonBreaking Tulane: Sophomore QB Kyle Padron‘s epic 82-yard touchdown pass to senior WR Aldrick Robinson (pictured) took the cake in SMU’s much-needed 31-17 smackdown of C-USA rival Tulane on Saturday, Oct. 30. The Mustangs looked shaky for much of the game, ending the 3rd quarter down by a touchdown. However, the Mustangs notched 21 points in the 4th quarter, including a nifty interception by junior DB Chris Banjo for a touchback. SMU’s next game is at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 in El Paso, Texas – where they hope to make UTEP their next victim on the way to redemption from a torrid 3-game losing streak.

One more shot: Former SMU men’s basketball players Mouhammad Faye and Bamba Fall, both graduates, have been selected in this year’s 2010 NBA Developmental League Draft. Class of ’09 graduate Fall, a former two-time All-C-USA Defensive Team selection, was drafted 97th overall to the Reno Bighorns. Class of ’10 graduate Faye finished 22nd in C-USA point standings with 10.7 points per game and was drafted 39th overall to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. More than 1 of every 5 NBA players has honed their skills in the D-League prior to being called up to the big leagues.

Craig HillMarta Lesniak continued her seemingly invincible run of accolades and awards as she was named C-USA’s Tennis Athlete of the Month on Tuesday, Nov. 2. For those who aren’t already aware, the No. 22-ranked Wroclaw, Poland native built a 10-2 record (6-1 against ranked opponents) as she advanced to the quarterfinal round of the ITA All-American Riviera Tournament and the title match of the ITA Regional. Her only loss to a ranked opponent came in a third-round tiebreaker to No. 7 Denise Dy of Washington at the quarterfinal match of the Riviera Tournament. As a result of her quarterfinal success, Lesniak has already qualified for the ITA National Indoor Championships, which will begin on Thursday, Nov. 4 in Flushing, New York.

Winding down: After garnering an incredible 14-1-0 record in the season thus far, the men’s soccer team (6-1-0 in C-USA play) goes for one more regular-season win against the FIU Golden Panthers (7-9-0, 1-6-0 C-USA) at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5 in Miami, Florida. The Mustangs have maintained a vice-grip on the No. 5 ranking in the NSCAA/HendricksCar.com national rankings, and added one more trophy to their impressive season collection this week as senior goalkeeper and captain Craig Hill (pictured) was named C-USA Defensive Player Of The Week for an impressive 2-0 shutout of Memphis at SMU’s final home game on Saturday, Oct. 30. SMU will head to Memphis Nov. 10-14 to participate in the 2010 Conference USA Championship, for which they hold the No. 1 seed and thus have a first-round bye. They will play the winner of the No. 4-No.5 quarterfinal match.

November 4, 2010|Sports|

Sports: Lesniak wins second Tennis Athlete of the Month award

Josue SotoPadron rolls: After a stellar performance in last Saturday’s 42-31 dismantling of Rice, sophomore QB Kyle Padron (24-for-32 comp, 371 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT) became this week’s unanimous selection for the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. Padron’s achievement earned a national spotlight as he was named one of the Manning Award’s five national Stars of the Week for his performance against the Owls. Padron and the Mustangs look to defeat C-USA rival (and current competitor for the Western Division) Tulsa at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 9. Students and staff, as always, receive free passes to the game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Streak broken: It’s possible that the support and praise of certain unspecified blogs eventually led to a jinx for the men’s soccer team, as the Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season to C-USA rival UCF on Oct. 2. The Knights scored early in the 12th minute to break out on the scoreboard, eventually heading off the Mustangs in a 2-1 win. Senior Josue Soto (right) tallied his third goal of the season in the 27th minute to temporarily tie the game. The Mustangs have fallen to No. 8 in the NSCAA/HendricksCar.com national rankings and are now 9-1-0 on the season (1-1-0 in C-USA play.) The Mustangs next host South Carolina at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6. SMU is 5-5-2 all-time against the No. 20-ranked Gamecocks.

Courtney ManningLesniak rising: Junior Marta Lesniak continues to add to her awards cabinet as she was named September’s C-USA Tennis Athlete of the Month Oct. 5. Lesniak, currently ranked No. 22 in the country, was commended for her 4-0 sweep of the Singles A tournament at the OU Fall Invitational earlier this month. Lesniak and doubles partner Heather Steinbauer also formed the No. 47 pair in the Doubles A bracket and went undefeated, winning 24 of 37 total games. This is Lesniak’s second Athlete of the Month award, with the first given in October 2009. Currently, she is competing at the Riviera Women’s All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, California, which has been on rain delay intermittently over the past week.

SMU vs. Tulsa, precursor: The volleyball team is yet again acting as a foil for the SMU football team by facing the same opponent in one week. And, just like the Mustang football team, SMU (12-3, 4-0 C-USA) and Tulsa (13-2, 4-0 C-USA) will be duking it out for the top spot in the conference. The volleyball game begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 in Moody Coliseum. SMU’s defense to this point has been exceptional, with a C-USA lead in opponent’s hitting percentage (.167), blocks per set (2.55) and digs per set (17.81). (Left, sophomore middle blocker Courtney Manning.) The rivalry match is this year’s “Pack the House” event with all SMU faculty, staff and students receiving free admission.

October 6, 2010|Sports|
Load More Posts