Kyle Padron

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.

Sports: SMU in control of bowl destiny (so far)

Kyle PadronThree-and-oh: Sophomore QB Kyle Padron (right) threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns as the Mustangs delivered a 21-18 win over Conference USA rival Tulsa on Oct. 9. The Mustangs improved their conference record to a division-leading 3-0 in front of a surprisingly large Fall Break crowd of 19,329. After the Golden Hurricane got on the board first with a run by junior QB G. J. Kinne, sophomore Padron threw for three consecutive touchdowns to Darius Johnson, Cole Beasley and Bradley Haynes – one each in the first three periods. A field goal and a second rushing TD by Kinne in the 4th quarter wasn’t enough to bring Tulsa back. SMU faces Navy at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in Annapolis. The Midshipmen are 3-2 on the season and currently rank 10th in rushing yards.

Lesniak’s reign over: No. 22-ranked junior Marta Lesniak ended her run at the Riviera ITA All-American Tennis Championships with a school-record quarterfinals finish Wednesday, Oct. 11. Lesniak raced through the qualifying rounds and defeated four ranked opponents on her way to a hard-fought loss to No. 7 Denise Dy of Washington in three sets (2-6,7-5, 7-6). The Mustang doubles teams didn’t fare half as well, as both the prequalifying team of sophomores Edyta Cieplucha and Shahzoda Hatamova and the No. 47 qualifying team of Lesniak and junior Heather Steinbauer were defeated by the same unranked team of Sanaa Bhambri and Sandhya Nagaraj from NC State. The tennis squad has some time to recover and regroup – their next event, the National Indoor Championship in Flushing, New York, isn’t until Nov. 4.

Zach BarnesTrophy hoarders: The men’s soccer team (11-1-0, C-USA 3-1-0) added another weekly award to its stellar season as freshman midfielder Zach Barnes (right) got the nod as this week’s C-USA Offensive Player of the Week. Barnes was responsible for a last-minute breakaway goal in SMU’s 3-1 win over No. 20 South Carolina on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Barnes also posted the deciding goal in a 2-1 overtime victory against Marshall on Sunday, Oct. 10 – a game where SMU played a man short due to an 80th-minute red card. The Mustangs, moving up to the No. 7 spot in this week’s NSCAA/HendricksCar.com rankings, host No. 14 Tulsa on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Tulsa is 7-3-0 on the season and is 1-1 in C-USA play.

Trophy hoarders, continued: Junior Kaitlyn Eidson of the women’s soccer team (9-4-2, C-USA 4-2-0) joined Barnes in earning a C-USA Offensive Player of the Week award. Eidson netted three of the four goals posted by SMU in wins over UTEP and Colorado College over the weekend. The Mustang’s 1-0 shutout win over UTEP on Friday, Oct. 8 featured Eidson’s ninth-minute goal as the only score of the match. On Sunday, Oct. 10, Eidson added two more goals in a 3-1 win over Colorado College, one within the first two minutes of the game and one in the 72nd minute. Eidson is in the middle of a three-game goal streak (4 goals) and has scored the game winner in each of the past three contests for SMU. Next up is conference rival UAB at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 at Westcott Field. Purchase your tickets online at smumustangs.com or call 214-SMU-GAME.

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.

Sports: SMU to play Rice after close loss

Marta LesniakNo skillet this year: Taking advantage of a No. 4-ranked team’s mistakes wasn’t enough to help SMU overcome TCU in this year’s 41-24 Iron Skillet loss. Despite only completing 14 of 26 passing attempts and throwing two interceptions, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton was able to find ways to break through SMU’s defenses in the waning minutes of the second half, when SMU held a brief 17-14 lead. SMU sophomore QB Kyle Padron fared worse statistically (14-for-35, 1 INT) but threw for 2 touchdowns. Sophomore RB Zach Line continues to make an impression on the team as he scored a 29-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. SMU travels to Rice on Oct. 2 with a solid chance to add another win against the 1-3 Owls at 7 p.m.

Lesniak shines: No. 22-ranked junior Marta Lesniak (right) scored another hit for women’s tennis as she won the Singles A competition in last weekend’s Sooner Fall Tennis Invitational. The Polish native’s career singles record is now at 43-8 and she will be looking to capitalize on that at the 2010 Riviera/ITA All-American tournament, which begins Saturday, Oct. 2 and will continue through Oct. 10. Lesniak is already in the ‘Qualifying Singles’ bracket and the ‘Qualifying Doubles’ bracket with teammate junior Heather Steinbauer. Junior Aleksandra Malyarchikova and sophomore Edyta Cieplucha are in the ‘Prequalifying Singles’ bracket, who will begin play first to determine qualifying seeding, and sophomore Shahzoda Hatamova is an alternate for the tournament. This will be the first time in school history that five players from SMU will be participating in the Riviera tournament.

Pete FlepsThe reign continues: The men’s soccer team shows no signs of stopping their winning streak as last week’s 3-2 and 2-1 victories against UAB and Jacksonville, respectively, put the Mustangs at a 9-0-0 record for the year. They are now ranked 5th in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com National Rankings, despite having three victories more than any of the four teams placed above them. The Mustangs get something of a breather this weekend as they have only conference rival, UCF, to face at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. They will also host South Carolina at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Awarding our role models: Senior linebacker Pete Fleps (right) was named a semifinalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth. The National Football Foundation announced on Thursday, Sept. 30, that Fleps was being considered for the award due to his leadership on the field and his stellar academic achievements. (Fleps has made the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll since 2006 and was named honorable mention All-C-USA by the league’s coaches in 2009.) Fleps, who leads the team with 34 tackles through four games, will find out if he makes the 15-finalist cut on Oct. 28 in a nationally televised press conference. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000 and receive a 25-pound bronze trophy, will be announced live at the NFF’s annual awards dinner on Dec. 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

Sports: SMU defeats TCU in volleyball in prelude to Iron Skillet

Kathryn WilkersonBeginning of the end? In what some Mustang fans no doubt hope is a prologue to victory against TCU football this weekend, the volleyball team gave a sound 3-1 thrashing to TCU on Sept 21. TCU struck first with a 25-18 victory in the opening game, which prompted Mustang stars like Dana Powell (double-double, 20 kills, 18 digs), Kathryn Wilkerson (right, double-double, 15 digs, 14 kills), and Sidney Stewart (16 digs) to win the next three straight games and finish off the Horned Frogs. The Mustangs will resume conference play with two matches against UAB on Sept. 24-25.

Get your red on: SMU is calling for a “RED OUT” for Friday’s much-awaited SMU-TCU game, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Mustang QB Kyle Padron, who threw 280 yards for four touchdowns (and added a rushing TD himself) in last week’s 35-21 shootout victory against Washington State, will be taking on the No. 4-ranked Horned Frogs in this year’s Battle for the Iron Skillet. SMU has earned the prized cooking utensil only once in the past ten years in a 21-10 victory on Sept. 10, 2005. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. For ticket and parking information, call the SMU Ticket Office at 214-SMU-GAME.

By the way, where did the Iron Skillet come from? Chris Dell of SMU News has the story.

Mary AlenbrattLucky number seven: After another weekend sweep, the men’s soccer team continues its perfect season with a 7-0-0 record and is now ranked ninth in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com national poll. At last weekend’s Bradley Invitational, SMU came from behind to defeat Creighton 3-2 in double overtime on Sept. 17. A victory over host Bradley followed on Sept. 18 as the Mustangs posted a second straight comeback win of 3-1. Reigning C-USA Player of the Week Juan Castillo got both comebacks started by scoring the first SMU goal in both games. Junior Arthur Ivo converted two penalty kicks to seal the Creighton match, and freshman Robbie Derschang added two late goals in the 84th and 87th minutes of the Bradley match.

Running up the rankings: The cross country team has placed in the rankings for its third consecutive United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll, with a No. 1 placing in the South Central region and a move up to No. 21 nationally. Sophomore Mary Alenbratt (right), winner of the C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Week earlier this month, finished second in the UT-Arlington Season Opener. SMU returns to the track on Oct. 2 at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.

Sports: SMU dominates UAB, Washington State up next

SMU defenders Taylor Reed (44) and Ryan Smith (20) combine to stop UAB wide receiver Patrick Hearn in the Mustangs' win on Saturday in Dallas.

Easy win, easy go: The 2010 SMU BCS bid campaign finally got rolling Sept. 11 as the Mustangs made a quick and easy time of defeating UAB, 28-7. (Right, defenders Taylor Reed (44) and Ryan Smith (20) take down UAB wide receiver Patrick Hearn, AP Photo / The Dallas Morning News, Louis DeLuca) After a small hiccup in the first quarter when UAB scored a touchdown to post their (only) lead of 7-0, SMU quickly got its offense in gear with two touchdowns scored by sophomore RB Zach Line, followed by two touchdown passes by sophomore QB Kyle Padron. The Mustangs are now tied for first in the C-USA West Division with Houston at one conference win for each team. SMU’s Sept. 18 game against Washington State will continue their three-game homestand in Dallas.

Mustangs moving up: The men’s soccer team continues its hot streak heading into this weekend’s series of games in Peoria, Illinois. The Mustangs, who swept the Hurricane Classic last weekend in Tulsa (2-0-0 against SIU-Edwardsville and Western Illinois) are now 5-0-0 on the season and have been ranked 18th nationwide in this week’s NSCAA/HendrickCars.com National Rankings. Freshman forward Juan Castillo was also named the C-USA Player Of The Week. The Mustangs will compete at the Bradley Tournament in Peoria Sept. 17 and 19, where they will battle Creighton and Bradley, respectively.

%20MaryAlenbratt150.jpgCross Country awards love: SMU runner Mary Alenbratt (right) was named C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Sept. 13, 2010, after posting a two-mile run time of 11:07.74 at the UT-Arlington Season Opener cross country event. Alenbratt, a sophomore from Bohus, Sweden, was one of four runners from SMU who placed in the top nine finishers in the race. The Mustangs will next compete at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1.

Women’s soccer comeback: The women’s soccer team made a comeback effort to defeat New Mexico 1-0 Sept. 12, upping their season record to 4-2-1. Junior Logan May scored in the 78th minute, and goalkeeper Courtney Webb picked up her fourth shutout of the season and now has a 0.69 GAA on the season. The Mustangs travel north to Denton next for a match against UNT at 7 p.m. Sept. 17. The “Mean Green” Eagles are 5-2-1 for the season, with their most recent matches being two consecutive 1-0 losses at Sam Houston and Texas Tech.

Tennis season coming up: The women’s tennis team has four players who have placed in the Fall ITA Preseason Rankings – a first in school history. Junior Marta Lesniak holds the highest placing for a Mustang since 1993 at No. 22, with a career singles record of 43-8. Fellow junior Aleksandra Malyarchikova is ranked No. 95 with a 39-6 record. Sophomore Edyta Cieplucha is ranked No. 109 after a rookie record of 18-2, and junior transfer from Vanderbilt Heather Steinbauer is No. 117 with a 33-17 career record. All four will play in the The Riviera/ITA All-American Championship, beginning on Oct. 2 at the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, California.

Sports: SMU football looking for home rebound against UAB

SMU kicker Matt SzymanskiDisappointing, but not hopeless: Texas Tech got the best of SMU in the season opener despite a late Mustangs rally with a final score of 35-27.

  • Sophomore QB Kyle Padron had an exciting if unbalanced day, throwing for 218 yards, 2 touchdowns…and three picks. Padron was also sacked 3 times by the Tech defense.
  • Senior kicker Matt Szymanski (right) was named Conference USA Special Teams Player Of The Week after kicking a school-record 61-yard field goal. (The goal is the second-longest in C-USA history.) SMU’s special teams were the unlikely heroes of the game, as Darryl Fields also returned a kickoff 92 yards to set up a 24-yard field to pull SMU within 35-17 in the third quarter.
  • SMU’s defeat was also Tommy Tuberville’s first win as head coach of Texas Tech. The Mustangs now have lost 14 straight games to Tech, dating back to 1989.

Bad memories, better futures: SMU will play its first home game against struggling C-USA rivalUAB on Saturday, Sept. 11. There will be a tribute to the heroes of United Flight 93, who sacrificed their lives to avert a 4th terrorist attack on 9/11. Mustangs will be wearing red, white and blue in honor of the victims. Also, SMU will be offering free tickets to all first-responders (including fire, police and emergency medical personnel) and to anyone with a military ID.

SMU soccer player Zach BarnesOff to a great start: The men’s soccer team received accolades for its furious 3-0-0 start when it was ranked 2nd in the Midwest division of the NSCAA/HendricksCars.com National Rankings.

  • SMU has defeated Missouri State in a 3-2 double overtime victory, Lipscomb with a 3-1 victory, and has shut out Seattle 3-0, all within the past week.
  • Freshmen lead the fight as Zach Barnes (right, 2 goals), Juan Castillo (2 goals), Robbie Derschang, A.J. Corrado, Ben Hill and Chris Sendejas have all scored in the three victories for SMU. Sophomore T. J. Nelson also netted his first career goal against Missouri State.
  • SMU continues its season this weekend at the Tulsa Tournament in Oklahoma, where it will face SIUE on Friday and Western Illinois on Sunday.

Revenge against Tech: The volleyball team continued their torrid start this past weekend with a 2-1 record at the Doubletree Invitational, which ended with their first loss of the season (but not after some due retribution was dealt out.)

  • SMU swept Texas Tech (25-15, 25-20, 25-17) in its first game of the Invitational, providing solace for bitter Mustangs over the weekend.
  • The Texas State Bobcats proved to be a bit more of a challenge in the second match of the day, but SMU prevailed with a 3-1 final score (SMU 25-23, 25-23, TXS 25-18, SMU 25-20.)
  • Sadly, the Lady Mustangs were out of gas in their 3-1 loss to UC-Davis in the Doubletree Invitational Championship. On the brighter side, both OH Kathryn Wilkerson and DS/L Sidney Stewart were named to the 2010 All-Tournament Team.
  • SMU looks to bounce back from their first loss of the season this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they will face UC-Santa Barbara, Sacramento State and host New Mexico in the Lobo Comcast Challenge.

Sports: CollegeFootballNews.com honors Mustangs, Jones

SMU offensive lineman J.T. BrooksMustang football has made plenty of news since SMU’s 45-10 Christmas Eve win over Nevada in the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. The latest comes from CollegeFootballNews.com, which named Head Coach June Jones its Coach of the Bowl Season and sophomore offensive lineman J.T. Brooks (left) to its All-Bowl Team. The site also ranked first-year quarterback Kyle Padron‘s 460-yard, two-touchdown performance the 8th best among all players in the postseason. The full list of CFN’s honors is available on the CollegeFootballNews.com website. Read more from SMU Athletics.

In addition, the Mustangs received a vote in the final USA Today Coaches Poll. The team entered the bowl season as the biggest underdog in any bowl game yet finished with the largest margin of victory in all bowl games played. Read more.

SMU wide receiver Emmanuel SandersMeanwhile, senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (right) has accepted an invitation to play in the 85th East-West Shrine Game at 2 p.m. CST Jan. 23 in Orlando, Florida. Sanders, who will play for the West Team, joins a list that includes John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and 62 NFL Hall of Famers who have played in the contest, which is America’s longest-running college all-star football game. Read more.

The No. 18 SMU women’s swimming and diving team welcomes Rice and Houston Jan. 22-24 in a pair of dual meets at Perkins Natatorium. The weekend will give fans the chance to see the Mustangs compete against two of the top-tier schools in Conference USA this season. Read more.

SMU guard Jillian SamuelsBoth SMU swim teams received national recognition Jan. 21 by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The women’s team moved up to No. 18 in the latest poll, while men’s swimming and diving earned a rank of No. 23 – the biggest jump of any school in the poll, as the Mustang men were the only new team to enter the top 25. Read more.

Senior guard Jillian Samuels (left) tied her career-high game record with 20 points and became the 17th player in SMU history to score 1,000 points in a career while leading the women’s basketball team to a 70-59 home win over Tulane Jan. 17. She went 6-for-9 from the field, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range, and made 6 of 7 free-throw attempts during the SMU victory. The team hosts East Carolina at 5 p.m. Jan. 23 in Moody Coliseum. Read more.