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

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SMU faces tough test during last road trip of regular season

Following a two-game home split against Marshall and East Carolina University, the SMU women’s soccer team (4-8-1, 2-3-1 Conference USA) takes its final road trip of the regular season this weekend.

The Mustangs will face-off against two teams currently in the top half of the C-USA standings: the Memphis Lady Tigers (9-5-0, 4-2-0) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (9-4-1, 3-2-1).

“It’s a hard weekend, but we’ve shown that we can play with anybody,” head coach Brent Erwin said.

After SMU nearly shut out the then top-ranked Marshall Herd last Friday, Erwin is confident in his team’s ability to compete with the best opposition C-USA has to offer.

“I always say this about us – we’re not fakers,” he said. “We play a hard schedule, we play the best teams and we try to play no easy games.”

One of the biggest improvements in recent weeks has been that of the Mustang defense and sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Webb. Over the team’s last four games, Webb has posted a goals-against-average of 0.71, while SMU has gone 2-1-1 in that span.

The defense will have to be in top form on Friday in order to defeat the Lady Tigers, who are currently ranked fourth in the C-USA standings. The team boasts five players with 10 or more shots on goal this season, including junior forward Ashley Berra, who leads Memphis with 10 goals and 23 points.

Erwin has also seen an upgrade in his team’s ability to keep pressure on the opposing defense and goalkeeper.

“We’re starting to find our feet more on the attacking side,” he said. “It shows that we’re a good team and a team that has quality.”

In the two games against Marshall and ECU, the Mustangs combined to outshoot their opposition 38-18.

And in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Pirates, freshman forward Shelby Hartweck became the first SMU player this year to score two goals in one game.

“You see a young player who now understands kind of the intricacies of college soccer,” Erwin said. “She scored two goals, but she was creating other chances.”

Hartweck and the rest of the SMU squad will face the Memphis Lady Tigers on Friday at 7 p.m. before kicking off against the UAB Blazers Sunday at 1 p.m.

“I just told the girls we have to take our big-tent circus on the road,” Erwin said.

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