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

3-0 lacrosse team no longer a joke

After advancing all the way to the championship game at the Division II-A level, the SMU lacrosse team is proving that the jump to Division I-A is well-deserved.

The Mustangs are 3-0 this season with wins over Baylor, Rice and Texas Tech.

They beat the Red Raiders 10-9 in overtime. The win over Texas Tech was only the second time in 20 years that head coach Don Newbury managed a win against the Red Raiders.

The change in level of play has not gone unnoticed. The players have seen an obvious difference in the skill level.

“In this league, the talent is about 80 times better than it was in the other,” sophomore midfielder/defenseman Alan Falik said.

When SMU switched to the Lone Star Alliance, the highest level of college competition, there were doubters within and outside the team.

“We came into the season knowing that in the past SMU lacrosse was looked upon as a joke,” Falik said. “Our goal this year was to prove that the A&M tournament wasn’t a fluke by making the playoffs and proving to everyone that we belong at the top of the division.”

The Mustangs’ formula for success consists of three ingredients: a good mix of new and old players, an addition to the coaching staff and the confidence that they can play with anyone.

Twelve freshmen joined this year’s squad. In addition, all of last season’s roster returned. Four of the first-year players are starters.

“When this class showed up the first day of practice we knew that they would fit in perfectly,” Falik said. “They brought with them a want to win and nothing less.”

Freshman attackman Chris Neumann scored five goals against Baylor and fellow rookie Chip Heimenz has anchored the defense.

Assistant coach Sean Gilligan has been a key figure on SMU’s sideline. Gilligan played at Texas A&M and has taught the Mustangs what other schools put into their programs to make it successful.

Last season’s finish and this year’s start have combined to reinforce SMU’s idea that it can compete against any team when playing its best.

“So far this season we know we have not played our best game,” Falik said. “We feel that there is a lot of room for improvement. We think we can come out and match up very strongly with every team.”

SMU will put its perfect record on the line this weekend when it takes on Southwest Texas at noon Saturday and follow up against Louisiana State at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Both games will be played on the Intramural Field.

Playing two games in a weekend is a challenge that the Mustangs are confident they are up for.

“We’re just going to go in, keeping playing our best,” Falik said. “Hopefully things will go our way.”

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