The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Eligibility to play in the C-USA Championships hinges on Tulsa match

After the first 17 games of the regular season, the women’s soccer team finds itself needing to win its final match to have a shot at making it to the 2009 Conference USA Championships.

The top six teams in the conference will move on to the tournament, and SMU (6-10-1, 4-5-1 C-USA) is currently ranked seventh, in between the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (10-6-2, 4-4-2) and Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-9-2, 4-6-0).

Should the Mustangs beat Tulsa in Thursday’s regular-season finale, a loss from either UAB or Marshall (12-6-0, 5-5-0) would give SMU a spot in the postseason tournament, to be held Nov. 4-8 at Westcott Field.

The Blazers will be on the road Thursday against the second-seed Memphis Tigers (13-5-0, 8-2-0).

According to head coach Brent Erwin, the team is ready to rise to what is just another challenge this season.

“We’ve had a lot of games where our backs have been against the wall,” he said, “and every time we’ve answered the bell.”

The Mustangs’ play of late has backed up the coach’s confidence.

Through September, SMU had a record of 2-7-0, with three of the losses coming at the hands of Top-25 opponents. Over the last four weeks, however, the Mustangs have gone 4-3-1, while goalkeeper Courtney Webb has posted a goal-against-average of 0.73 with three shutouts.

Erwin credits the team’s recent play – including a 4-0 shutout of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Sunday – to the amount of time spent on the field as an offensive unit.

“We try to play a pretty open style where we flow and we have people change positions,” he said. “It takes time to get that cohesion, but I think they have it now.”

Part of the mix this year has been a group of young talent hoping to make a quick impact.

Five freshman players have recorded their first career goals for SMU, including forward Kenzie Scovill, who leads the team in both goals (5) and points (11).

“It’s like seeing something come together right before your eyes,” Erwin said. “It’s fun to be a part of it and to watch them grow. The sky is the limit.”

For the visiting Golden Hurricane (with a road record of 0-6-1), seniors Kayla Chambers and Jennifer Kecergis have combined for 10 of the team’s 24 goals this year, and freshman goalkeeper Katie Bykowski has made 87 saves while recording 7 shutouts.

Erwin recognizes the implications of Thursday’s final regular-season game and believes the Mustangs will draw on their early-season experience against top-ranked teams.

“We’ve met the challenge so many times,” he said. “Now we need to win our next match and just keep plugging away game by game.”

SMU will kick off against Tulsa at 7 p.m. Thursday at Westcott Field, with Senior Night ceremonies to follow the game.

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