SMU Downs No. 34 BYU, Grambling State in Doubleheader

April 11, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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No. 29 Mustangs Prep for Final Regular-Season Match

April 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

Since a road loss to Baylor last month, the No. 29 women’s tennis team has posted four straight wins, including back-to-back matches against Conference-USA foes UTEP and the University of Central Florida.

On Saturday, SMU (21-3) will host the Rice Owls in the final match of the regular season, and the winner will likely hold the top seed in the upcoming C-USA Championship tournament.

“They’re a very, very good team and a dangerous team,” head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner said of Rice. “This will be our toughest challenge of the year.”

The Mustangs will be looking to build on their perfect 4-0 record in conference play.

Last year, SMU defeated the Owls in Houston, 5-2, in the final regular-season tune-up before shutting them out, 4-0, less than a week later in the C-USA tournament. The Mustangs followed with a 4-1 win over Tulsa for their first C-USA Championship title.

This year’s tournament will be held in Tulsa starting Mar.22, and Longbotham-Meisner knows the importance of a victory over Rice in the team’s regular-season finale.

“Getting a good, strong win here will basically be security for the No. 1 seed in the tournament,” she said.

SMU will face Rice Saturday at 12 p.m. at Turpin Tennis Center.

Mustangs Look to Build on Win Streak

April 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

Following a pair of wins in California last weekend, the No. 28 women’s tennis team returns home Friday for a doubleheader against the University of Texas-El Paso and Prairie View A&M University.

The Mustangs (19-3) lost for just the third time all season on Mar. 25 against the Baylor Bears, then ranked No. 7 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

“We played well, but they played better,” head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner said.

The team rebounded from Thursday’s loss to Baylor with road wins over Fresno State (6-1) on Saturday and Saint Mary’s (7-0) on Sunday.

“The girls showed a lot of mental toughness,” Longbotham-Meisner said. “The weather was much warmer than what we’ve been accustomed to, and they were having to fight some fatigue.”

The Mustangs won the doubles point in both matches while sophomore Aleksandra Malyarchikova secured the game-deciding singles match on consecutive days.

SMU will face the UTEP Miners at 12 p.m. Friday before taking on the Prairie View A&M Panthers at 6 p.m., and both matches will be held at Turpin Tennis Center.

“We believe we have the upper hand,” Longbotham-Meisner said, “but we’re going to train just like we would going up against Baylor.”

No. 29 Mustangs Prep for Weekend Matches

March 17, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

After a two-match sweep over Penn State and Abilene Christian University, the No. 29 women’s tennis team will look to build on its 15-2 record with a pair of weekend matchups against No. 23 Virginia Commonwealth University and Conference USA rival Southern Miss.

SMU swept the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday before defeating the ACU Wildcats, 4-3, at Turpin Tennis Stadium.

The Mustangs’ top two singles and doubles players – sophomores Marta Lesniak and Aleksandra Malyarchikova – each picked up wins against Penn State, but it was individual victories from freshmen Edyta Cieplucha, Shahzoda Hatamova and Katerina Vankova that sealed the 7-0 shutout.

“They’re stepping up,” head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner said of the team’s freshmen. “Sometimes they’re going to have some road bumps, but also what we hope are some really good wins.”

The Mustangs face off against the No. 29 VCU Rams (12-2) Saturday at 12 p.m. before taking on the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (7-6) Sunday at 10 a.m., and both matches will be held at SMU’s Turpin Tennis Stadium.

A Sunday match against the University of Texas-Dallas was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

The team will travel to Waco next Wednesday for a matchup with the No.1 Baylor Bears (11-2), who have the nation’s top ranking for the first time in school history.

“We have absolutely nothing to lose [against Baylor],” Longbotham-Meisner said. “We feel we’re just as good as they are, and if we get the win it’s a huge boost.”

No. 33 SMU Defeats Penn State and ACU

March 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The No. 33 women’s tennis team ran its record to 15-2 with wins over Penn State and Abilene Christian University Friday at Turpin Tennis Stadium.

Against the Nittany Lions (4-9), sophomores Marta Lesniak and Aleksandra Malyarchikova picked up an 8-0 victory at No. 1 doubles to give the Mustangs an early advantage.

Senior Pavi Francis and freshman Edyta Cieplucha recorded an 8-5 win at No. 2 while freshman Shahzoda Hatamova teamed with senior Casey Kennedy to wrap up the doubles point with a win at No. 3.

“The most impressive thing about today was the fact that we continued to improve in our doubles,” head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner said on SMUMustangs.com. “I was really pleased with how we came out in the doubles for both matches and performed at a high level like I know we can.”

Cieplucha led off singles play with a straight-set victory (6-2, 6-4) over Penn State’s Maria Prishlyak before Francis (6-2, 6-2) and Malyarchikova (6-1, 6-3) did the same to secure the win for SMU.

Lesniak, Hatamova and freshman Katerina Vankova also won in their singles matchups to make it a 7-0 sweep over the Nittany Lions.

Ranked No. 59 among singles players by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Lesniak came back from an early deficit to beat No. 66 Petra Januskova (4-6, 6-3, 10-6) at the top spot and improve her record to 7-1 against nationally ranked opponents this season.

Against ACU (13-3), the Mustangs again swept all three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead.

Cieplucha led off singles with another straight-set win (6-2, 6-1) at No. 3 before Lesniak followed suit with a win (6-3, 6-2) over the Wildcats’ Jaclyn Walker at No. 1.

At No. 4 singles, Francis recorded yet another straight-set victory (6-0, 6-2) to give SMU the 4-3 win over ACU.

“She is confident, motivated and playing some really great tennis,” Longbotham-Meisner said of Francis. “I am proud of the way she has really stepped up her game her senior year.”

The Mustangs will host Virginia Commonwealth University (11-2) Saturday at 12 p.m. before a doubleheader Sunday against C-USA rival Southern Miss (7-6) and the University of Texas-Dallas (4-2).

First match Sunday against the Golden Eagles is set for 10 a.m. while the Mustangs will face the Comets at 3 p.m., and all games will be held at SMU’s Turpin Tennis Stadium.

SMU Stumbles against UAB in Second Round of C-USA Tournament

March 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team fell to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, 64-55, Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA Championship tournament at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.

SMU (20-10, 10-7 C-USA) jumped to an 18-6 lead midway through the first half following a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Heidi Brandenburg, but the Blazers (16-14, 10-8 C-USA) went on a 12-0 run to tie the game.

Senior post Alice Severin led the Mustangs with eight first-half points, and SMU took a 25-22 lead into halftime.

After missing all five three-point attempts in the first half, however, UAB improved to shoot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc in the second half and take the lead with over 17 minutes to play.

“They’re a very good team,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of the Blazers in a post-game radio interview. “We just ran into some unforced errors.”

Three UAB players combined to score 60 of the team’s 64 points – senior forward Tamika Dukes (21 points) and freshmen guards Amber Jones (23) and Jala Harris (16).

The Mustangs were led by 13 points apiece from junior guard Haley Day and senior guard Jillian Samuels.

Severin finished with 10 points while sophomore post Christine Elliot scored eight points with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Senior forward Brittany Gilliam scored just four points and committed four turnovers before fouling out with 8:01 left in the game.

“When you have somebody of Brittany’s caliber sitting on the bench,” Rompola said, “it’s very difficult because it takes away some leadership, and we were missing that a little bit.”

The team will find out Monday if it is selected for the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

No. 22 Mustangs Look to Extend Win Streak

March 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

Following a sweep of the Louisville Cardinals and host Missouri Tigers last weekend, the No. 22 SMU women’s tennis team keeps its show on the road to face off against the No. 33 University of Texas and No. 47 Texas A&M in the coming days.

The Mustangs (12-1) have won eight consecutive matches since a Jan. 29 loss to Florida International University, including road victories at No. 35 Tulsa and No. 23 TCU.

In the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, sophomore Marta Lesniak is the No. 59 singles player in the country, and while she and senior Pavi Francis are ranked No. 22 nationally at doubles, it’s not a tandem opponents should count on seeing in action.

SMU has used a variation of doubles lineups over the last month while seniors Francis and Nicole Briceno recover from injuries, but the team still put together a perfect 8-0 record in February to remain in the Top 25.

Last Saturday against Louisville, Lesniak and sophomore Aleksandra Malyarchikova won at No. 1 doubles before Francis and freshman Edyta Cieplucha teamed up for a win at No. 2.

On Sunday, Cieplucha joined Lesniak for a win at the top spot against Missouri while Francis and Malyarchikova secured the doubles point with a victory at No. 2.

“I told the girls my A.D.D. with doubles will end in March,” head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner said. “This week will be final lineup change unless there’s an injury.”

SMU will play the No. 33 Longhorns (3-3) Saturday at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in what will be the teams’ first matchup since 1996, when Texas beat the Mustangs 8-1 in Dallas.

In the most recent ITA regional rankings, UT has three of the Top 50 singles players in the state – No. 26 Aeriel Ellis, No. 29 Krista Damico and No. 50 Vanja Corovic.

“They’re a very talented team,” Longbotham-Meisner said. “We know how dangerous they can be and we have to earn every point at every position.”

On Tuesday the team will take on the No. 47 Aggies (3-4) at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station.

SMU returns to action on the Hilltop with a double-header against Penn State (2-7) and Abilene Christian University (8-2) on Saturday, Mar. 12.

Gilliam, Samuels Lead SMU to 71-52 Win Over Tulsa on Senior Night

March 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team, having secured a first-round bye in next week’s Conference USA Championship Tournament, won its 20th game of the season Wednesday with a 71-52 victory over Tulsa at Moody Coliseum.

Senior guard Brittany Gilliam led the way for SMU (20-9, 10-6 C-USA) with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, good for her fifth double-double of the year.

Junior forward Haley Day also picked up her third double-double this season with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Golden Hurricane (12-15, 6-10 C-USA) shot just 24.7 percent on field goals in the game, including 0-for-12 on three-point attempts in the second half.

Freshman guard Alisha Filmore scored a career-high 12 points and senior guard Jillian Samuels finished with 11 points and two assists in 31 minutes.

“You rely on them,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of her two active seniors. “They have to take over, and they did.”

Senior post Alice Severin is coming back from an injury and did not play against Tulsa, though she is expected to return for the C-USA tournament.

With Severin and sophomore post Christine Elliot unable to play, Rompola turned to sophomore Heidi Brandenburg and freshman Sarah Shelton to create an inside presence.

In her first career start, Brandenburg scored nine points with five rebounds while Shelton came off the bench for eight points and eight defensive rebounds.

“They didn’t play like two players who hadn’t played much,” Rompola said. “I saw Sarah mature as a player today. She actually rebounded with an attitude today, and that was something different.”

Gilliam, Samuels and Severin were each honored before Wednesday’s game as part of SMU Senior Night activities.

Together, the seniors have compiled 82 wins during their time on the Hilltop, tying them with the class of 2000 for the most victories over a four-year span. That was also the only other class at SMU to reach 20 wins three years in a row.

“I think that just shows what we’ve done to help this program out,” Gilliam said. “We’re just winners, you know … We don’t like to lose.”

Depending on the outcomes of two conference games Thursday, the Mustangs will enter the 2010 GMC Sierra C-USA Championship in Tulsa as the second, third or fourth seed, though their first-round bye is guaranteed.

Matchups and game times will be announced on Friday.

BLOG: SMU Women Defeat Tulsa, 71-52

March 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Check out the transcript of Sports Writer Nate Regan’s live blog during the women’s basketball game.

SMU Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams Earn 5th Straight C-USA Titles

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The SMU men’s and women’s swim teams each wrapped up their fifth consecutive Conference USA titles by wide margins Saturday at the CRWC Natatorium on the University of Houston campus.

It also marked the 14th straight conference title for the Mustangs dating back to 1997, when they were part of the Western Athletic Conference.

The SMU men compiled 871 points at the four-day event to beat runner-up Hawaii (833) while the women tallied 707 points to race past second-place East Carolina University (611).

On Wednesday, the Mustangs won the women’s 200 yard medley relay (1:39.25) with a lineup of Gabriella Soza, Devon Callaghan, Denisa Smolenova and Justine Clark.

Later, Sascha Van den Branden and Therese Svendsen joined Callaghan and Clark to post another first-place finish and NCAA “B” Qualifying time (7:11.99) in the 800 yard freestyle relay.

Junior Matthew Culbertson won the 1 meter diving event (361.45) for SMU before the men’s squad won the 200 yard medley relay (1:26.78) with Pontus Renholm, Hal Eubanks, David Larsson and Thomas Fadnes.

In the 800 yard freestyle relay, Nate Clark, Ed Downes, Blaz Korosec and Mindaugas Sadauskas combined to give the Mustangs another win and another NCAA “B” Qualifying time (6:28.94).

Both the men’s and women’s teams followed up with wins Thursday in the 400 yard medley relays (times of 3:12.29 and 3:36.97, respectively), and Callaghan won the women’s 200 yard individual medley with an NCAA “B” Qualifying time of 2:00.03.

SMU also took the top three finishes in the men’s 50 yard freestyle, including Fadnes (20.10 seconds), Sadauskas (20.16) and Larsson (20.26).

Friday saw more relay wins for the Mustangs, this time in the both the men’s and women’s 200 yard freestyle events with times of 1:19.07 and 1:31.84, respectively.

Culbertson won his second title of the tournament in the 3 meter diving event with a score of 411.25, and SMU claimed individual victories in the women’s 200 yard freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke, 100 yard backstroke and 100 yard butterfly.

For the men, Tom Cole (53.82 seconds) and Eubanks (55.02) each posted NCAA “B” Qualifying times in the 100 yard breaststroke while Renholm (47.76) and Sadauskas (48.61) placed first and second in the 100 yard backstroke event.

Both teams won the final relay event Saturday, the 400 freestyle, as the men posted an NCAA Qualifying time (2:56.72) while the women earned an NCAA “B” Qualifying time (3:19.24).

The Mustang men also recorded individual victories in the 1650 yard free, 200 yard breaststroke, 200 yard backstroke, 200 yard butterfly and 100 yard free, and Svendsen women’s 200 yard backstroke with a time of 1:54.98

The SMU men’s and women’s swim teams will both travel to Austin this weekend for the Austin Grand Prix, to be held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center Mar. 4-6.

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