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

Marta Lesniak

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: 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: 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.

October 14, 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|

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.

October 1, 2010|Sports|
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