Men’s soccer moves up to No. 6
Entering Friday night’s game against the Tulsa GoldenHurricane [6-4-2, 2-2-1 MVC], the SMU men’s soccer team[10-3, 5-0 MVC] was on a roll. Winners of their last four games,SMU has moved up to No. 6 in the NSCAA/adidas National Poll and No.11 in the Soccer America poll.
SMU’s next opponent, Tulsa, came to town on Friday withthe sole idea of ending that winning streak. Fortunately for theMustangs, Tulsa had no chance and fell to SMU 4-0.
SMU struck first in the game. With 20:00 remaining in the firsthalf, SMU senior defenseman Ugo Ihemelu stole the ball onSMU’s side of the field and took it coast to coast beforegetting illegally slide tackled in front of Tulsa’sgoalkeeper.
That foul setup a free kick by sophomore midfielder Alex Smiththat scorched the upper left corner of the net, giving SMU a 1-0lead. As it turns out, that was the only goal SMU would need forthe win, but they were not done scoring.
With 9:50 left on the clock in the first half, Smith scored hissecond goal of the night from a centered pass by junior forwardColin Clark. This time using his head rather than his feet, theresults were nonetheless the same as SMU took a 2-0 lead.
As the half wound down, 20 seconds was more than enough time forsenior midfielder Dario Saintus to build on SMU’s lead.
Taking the ball at mid-field, Saintus juked and jived his wayclose enough to fire a shot past Tulsa’s keeper for his onlygoal of the night. The half ended with SMU on top 3-0.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Saintus centered apass in front of Tulsa’s goal and off the head of Smith forhis third goal of the night.
The hat trick was the highlight of the game and gave SMU theirfourth and final goal. It was also Smith’s first hat trick incollegiate competition.
The rest of the game was left in the hands of goalie T.J.Tomasso and he finished off the Golden Hurricane, allowing nogoals.
The win should increase SMU’s status in the national pollsas they improve their record to 10-3.
The team believes it has a legitimate shot at winning a nationaltitle.
“We believe that a national championship is in our grasp.We just have to take it one game at a time,” said juniormidfield David Chun.
“We have the goals of winning our conference andconference tournament. Our team will collectively do whatever ittakes to win.”
SMU’s next takes on Evansville at home on Friday, Oct. 22.Gametime is set for 7:30 p.m.