Ponies kick it to win it
Published: Friday, September 10, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
SMU men's soccer is off to an excellent start. The Mustangs are currently undefeated (3-0), and received 36 votes in the NSCAA poll, just missing the top 25.
SMU opened its season at home against Missouri St., and came out victorious after a thrilling 3-2 overtime comeback victory.
In the SMU Classic this past weekend, the Mustangs picked up respectable wins over Lipscomb (3-1) and Seattle (3-0).
"I think our team is closer than ever," midfielder T.J. Nelson said. "I think that'll help us a lot because it will help us work for each other. And I think we have great chemistry on this team, so we should do well."
Nelson scored the game-winning goal against Missouri St., and is part of an amazing midfield that includes junior Payton Hickey, who was selected to the preseason All-Conference USA team.
The midfield also features three outstanding freshmen in Zach Barnes, AJ Corrado, Robbie Derschang and Chris Sendejas.
Barnes has two goals on the season, while Corrado and Derschang each have one. Corrado also has one assist.
"At first, I was nervous and a little shaky, but then I realized I got to do what I got to do," Barnes said. "The college game is kind of different."
Fellow freshmen Juan Castillo and Sendejas make a dangerous forward combo.
Castillo is tied for the team leader in goals with two, and Sendejas has one. Sendejas also has one assist. Redshirt freshman Ben Hill also has one goal on the season.
"[The freshmen are] logging minutes and giving us results," SMU head Coach Tim McClements said. "They've been getting goals and assists, so that's been great."
Senior captain goalkeeper Craig Hill spent the summer training with FC Dallas, and has recorded 10 shutouts in his career. Hill is also coming off a hand injury, but confirmed it's not an issue.
"My hand is good–it's fine," Hill said.
Senior Leone Cruz leads the Mustang defense and provides leadership to a young squad. Junior Adam Still is also solid on defense and provided an assist on offense this weekend.
Fellow junior defender Ian Kalis was named third team All-Conference USA last season and hopes to have another fine season this year.
"Overall, it's been a great start–we have a very resilient group," McClements said. "Our goal is to come out and put a good performance in."
SMU will play their next game against Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. as a part of the Hurricane Classic in Tulsa, Okla.