Mustangs Advance to Elite Eight

November 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Julius Pickenpack

The No. 5 SMU men’s soccer tem defeated No. 12 William & Mary 1-0 at Westcott Field on Sunday night. This is the Mustangs first NCAA men’s soccer regional final since 2005.

SMU will face No. 4 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. in the first week of December for the quarterfinals of the 2010 NCAA DI Soccer Championship.

Despite the 25-30 mph winds, the stands were nearly filled to capacity with Mustang fans and a few Tribe fans. SMU encouraged fans to wear red in order to “red out” the stand, but most of the people were covered in blankets and sweaters. However, a good number of student fans were decked out in red and held up signs throughout the game.

SMU’s Adam Still prepares to defend the ball against William & Mary’s James Lofton at Westcott Field on Sunday night. (PHOTO BY JULIUS PICKENPACK / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

SMU senior Josue Soto scored the game’s only goal in the 11th minute. The goal was made possible when Robbie Derschang stole the ball from his opponent in the corner field and passed it to Ian Kalis. Kalis was at the top of the circle and passed to Soto who powered the ball into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

The game nearly went to overtime in the last minute of the game.

William & Mary’s Nathaniel Baako scored with 25 seconds remaining in the game, but was ruled offside and his goal did not count. It was a close call, but SMU came out victorious.

The Mustangs 4-4-2 formation dominated the flow of the game. SMU tripled William & Mary’s three shots on goal, posting nine shots on goal.

Mustang fans gasped at Kekoa Osorio’s long shot in the 13th minute, which could have double SMU’s lead. However, William & Mary’s goalkeeper Andrew McAdams managed to hang on to the ball after juggling with it only inches outside the goal line.

William & Mary’s James Lofton had the best chance to tie the game in the 81st minute, yet his shot hit the left side of the goal post. SMU’s goalkeeper Craig Hill made three saves during the game.

Juan Castillo had two great shots at goal after he broke past the William & Mary’s defense, but neither went in.

SMU improved to 16-2-1 on the year, while William & Mary finished their season at 15-4-3.

SMU Men’s Soccer Receives No. 5 Seed in NCAA Tournament

November 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan

The SMU men’s soccer team received the No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament yesterday. The team is 15-2-0 on the year and won the C-USA with a record of 7-1-0.

The Mustangs have a bye in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

For details on the team and tournament, visit

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4

November 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 4 from on Vimeo.

On today’s Daily Update you’ll find out why Rangers fans still have a reason to celebrate and the direction that political campaigns are moving. Also, Kellius Cunningham will gives a preview of what this week’s football game against UTEP is going to look like and how SMU’s athletic policy is changing. All this and more on your Daily Update.

Women’s Soccer: Tie vs. St. Mary’s Sunday Leads to 5-2-2 on Season

September 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Jonathan Richter

The SMU women’s soccer team tied St. Mary’s 1-1 at Westcott Field Sunday afternoon.

In the second half of play, SMU’s Logan May scored on a strike to put the Mustangs on the board in the 65th minute. Forward Kenzie Scovill and midfielder Kristin Medeiros were credited with assists on the goal.

Soon after in the 67th minute, St. Mary’s Daelyn Paul found the back of the net to even the scoreboard.

The tie moves SMU to 5-2-2 on the season, while St. Mary’s moves to 6-1-2.

The women’s soccer team commences conference play this coming weekend as they travel to Houston. SMU faces off against Houston on Friday followed by a game against Rice on Sunday.

For Student-Athletes, It is More Than a Sport

April 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

by Petya Kertikova

Jennifer Hannah Raad is waiting nervously outside of her doctor’s office for the results of her latest X-Rays. The rain outside bothers her, but she keeps her hopes high. An hour later, the doctor comes out with the results. Her life is in his hands. The next thing she hears is awful. One of the best soccer players at SMU is never going to play again.

“I quit what I loved, and yet the physical pain is not done,” said Raad, whose knee injuries started in 2008.

Coming out of the locker room, preparing for practice, thinking and getting mentally and physically ready for the next competition, student-athletes are the ones who typically represent a university. The best ones are “those who everybody wants them to be.” But they must also face lifetime injuries, crushed dreams, empty hopes, periods of struggling with themselves and having to rebuild their lives without the sport they love.

According to Glenn Silverman, Assistant Business Manager for the Athletic Department at SMU, they are currently 11 student-athletes on medical scholarships for this year. According to a study by the University of Arizona 2, 754 medical charts of student-athletes appeared as “injured.”  In addition, 475 athletes annually are on medical scholarships because they cannot participate in sports again.

After 11 years of practicing and participating in meets and competitions, Samantha Means, a cross-country and track and field athlete, is now permanently injured. Means is a junior at SMU studying psychology, and she is now trying to build her life without the most important thing to her: running.

“It hurts when I see someone running,” said Means, who was injured last year.

Watching and listening about running makes her sad. After she discovered her injury her life goals changed, as well her personality. Now she wants to be a teacher, rather than a professional athlete.

John Nwisienyi played his favorite sport, football, for 18 years. Now he is a SMU senior psychology major and already finished with his life-long career. He injured his meniscus two years ago during a home game against Texas Christian University. Even though Nwisienyi is done with football right now, he still misses it.

“I still want to be on the field, with the players,” he said. According to Nwisienyi, athletes are like products. When someone needs them, they are rewarded, but when they get injured, coaches don’t pay as much attention to them.

Nwisienyi is now working on opening a fitness academy of his own called “Rock Star Fitness.” He thinks that all athletes should be treated the same no matter their ability to participate in sports.

Nicole Briceno, one of SMU’s best tennis athletes, is now injured after 18 years of hard work on the court. She injured her playing hand in January. After a sequence of surgeries, she is now tired of trying to be the best every day while ignoring the pain.

“You have love for a game and you know you can’t play never again,” said Briceno, a senior psychology major. She wanted to be a professional, but as she said “injuries opened a new door” for her.

Brinceno decided to continue her education and one day become an assistant coach at a university. She thinks that the relationship between athletes and coaches has to be constructed more on a friendly manner, not on winning and losing. Briceno still loves tennis and hopes to find another way to make the best of her life.

David Hayden, a baseball coach at the Little League in North Arlington, works mostly with kids age11 and 12. Coaching for 14 years up to this point, Hayden is one of the best coaches who keep their athletes healthy.

“I focus more on the conditioning aspect of one workout,” said Hayden. “You have to know how to handle your athletes-mentally and physically. A good coach knows his players,”

International Athletes Face Tough Transitions

November 17, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan

A Bulgarian running superstar was recruited to run cross-country and track at SMU, which took her on a journey that was anything but easy.

Like many international athletes, Petya Kertikova’s times were listed online and SMU coaches contacted her. After an outstanding running career in Europe, Kertikova decided to take a leap of faith and become a U.S. collegiate athlete.

For as much work and pain as she put into her European track career, she says transferring to SMU in 2007 is one of the hardest things she has ever done.
The running star spoke zero English when she arrived and is one of only three Bulgarian natives at SMU.

“I came and it was so, so different than I imagined,” Kertikova said. “I could not talk to people and they could not understand me.”

Like many of the 53 international athletes at SMU, Kertikova was not familiar with the language and culture in the U.S. The athletic, academic, and cultural transitions can be very challenging and a shock to international students.

“What are Blackboard, Access, online lectures, and syllabi? We don’t have these things in Europe,” Kertikova, a junior journalism major, said.

At many schools in Europe, students are not required to consistently go to class, Kertikova said. It was especially hard for her to communicate with her professors due to the language barrier.

“It was a pain, but I am very proud of myself that I stayed here,” Kertikova said.

SMU helped Kertikova learn English. Besides taking classes at SMU to learn the language, she also went to the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center every day to receive assistance.

Diogo de Almeida, a pre-business major from Brazil and SMU’s second-leading soccer scorer last year, also found the academic transition to be one of the most difficult aspects of being an international athlete.

Most all the athletes at SMU find that missing school for athletics, especially as an international athlete, is very difficult. Yet, the teachers work to help the athletes.

“Your teachers want to help you stay on top of the work and they are flexible about rescheduling exams,” Almeida said.

While many of the international athletes find the academic transition to be difficult, they do not struggle in acedimica significantly more than other athletes or students, SMU’s cross country coach Cathryn Casey said.

“The international athletes on the women’s cross country team maintain a high level of academics and are good students,” Casey said. “The biggest change is the large volume of reading in a different language.”

Another challenging aspect for Almeida is the financial side of being an athlete. For the first time in his life, Almeida is in charge of his finances. He finds the process confusing and SMU’s help minimal.

“You have to figure out your taxes and file a bunch of forms,” Almeida said. “The international office at SMU lets you know what you need to do, but the school does not help you all the way.”

Although Almeida has had to adjust financially, the differences in the physical training prove
the most drastic for her.

Kertikova enjoyed the dynamic practices full of short segments of running in Bulgaria more than the longer, more routine workouts in the U.S., which include lifting weights, she said.

Almeida found Brazilian training to be less focused on athleticism and conditioning. Training revolved around skill, passing, and individual play, whereas at SMU, the focus is more physical with more running and weightlifting involved. Almeida has taken a liking to the overall athleticism that U.S. athletes strive for.

He has soccer practice in the morning with his team and returns to the gym in the afternoon to get his own workout in.

Although Casey trains all of her runners the same, she sees a difference in work ethic. Six of the 12 runners on Casey’s cross country team are from Norway and Sweden. She describes their work ethic as fueled with motivation.

“They came thousands of miles to go to school. They left their family and friends and gave up a lot. They are here for a reason, to be student-athletes,” Casey said.

Another shocking aspect for SMU international athletes is the cultural differences. Most SMU international athletes come knowing no one and not knowing what to expect.

“The people, the culture, the manners, and views on happiness and fun are totally different in Europe compared to the U.S.,” Kertikova said.

She described young people of Europe as fun-loving, open, and laid back. Strangers approach you and want to be your friend, she said, as opposed to clicky, standoffish SMU students.

While Europeans are “partying all the time,” Americans “don’t know what fun is. They are too focused on money. I don’t live for money… obviously, because I’m planning on going into journalism,” Kertikova joked.

Tim Raschle, a SMU long distance freestyle swimmer, described how huge the cultural differences are.

“The rules are not made as such a big deal,” Raschle, a native of Mexico with a Swedish mother and Swiss father, said about his home countries of Mexico and Ecuador. “At home, rules are made to be followed, but in America rules are there for people to break and be tempted by.”

Raschle used the examples of America’s drinking age and America’s driving restrictions. Kids are more tempted to drink underage, drink heavily, drive recklessly, and drive drunk because of the way the culture is set up, he said.

He also finds international individuals to be more relaxed and much more open to making new friends. Because of this reason and shared experiences, many SMU international athletes flock together.

The swim, cross-country, and soccer teams have high percentages of international athletes, many of which enjoy talking to their teammates in their native language. In a sea of changes and adjustments, finding a group of friends to speak to in one’s native tongue is comforting.

SMU helps along the way with athletic advisors, the international office, and thoughtful teachers and coaches, but much of the struggle is dependent on self-motivation.

Kertikova went through a whirlwind of life changes, but it was a leg injury and osteoporosis that ended her ability to do the thing she loves most—run. Her full-ride scholarship has become a medical scholarship, a recognition given to injured athletes.

Occasionally, when it is not too emotionally draining, Kertikova reminisces about her athletic career. She proved herself in the 2005 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Italy by being the only Bulgarian runner to qualify in track.

She dominated the competition; at only 16 years old, Kertikova finished fourth in the 3K out of 46 countries. She also raked in an 8th place finish in the 800 meters. Her 3K time is still a Bulgarian record.

Kertikova’s journey as an international athlete has been a difficult one, but she remains optimistic.

“The first year at SMU was the toughest,” Kertikova said. “I was all alone. I had no family or friends. But, SMU is getting better.”

SMU Soccer Falls to Kentucky on Senior Day

November 3, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Casey Gibeaut

In case you missed it, Sunday was the final SMU home soccer game at Westcott Field. It was nice to see that the stands were more crowded than they had been the entire rest of the season. Families came out in support of their sons’ last regular season game at SMU. Before the game, all senior players and staff were recognized for their hard work over the last four years.

Unfortunately SMU was unable to score in the second half and lost its final home game which left a bitter taste in the mouths of players and fans. The SMU site offers a game recap.

Hopefully SMU will rebound next year and return to national prominence once again. Until then, I guess there’s basketball.

Mens Soccer Defeats UCF

October 26, 2008 by · Comments Off 

The Mustangs soccer team traveled to Orlando and defeated the University of Central Florida Saturday night 2-0 with both goals scored by senior Paulo da Silva. This was da Silva’s first game since being sidelined with an injury the five games previous. SMU improves its overall record to 9-4-2 and will play the final home game of the season next Sunday, Nov. 2 at Westcott Field against the University of Kentucky.