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SMU Daily Campus

SMU lost to TCU in Saturdays Iron Skillet game 34-17. Next years matchup is the last scheduled game in the longstanding rivalry.
SMU falls short at TCU
September 26, 2023

SMU bests UTRGV in season opener

SMU Men’s Soccer opens up new season with victory over UTRGV.
Kirk Ogunrinde
SMU and UTRGV men’s soccer players line up on the field at the August 24 match at Washburne Stadium.

UNIVERSITY PARK –SMU’s maiden fixture of the AAC campaign resulted in a 2-1 win over UTRGV at the Washburne Stadium in Dallas on Thursday.

Since 2019, SMU soccer has not lost the opening game of the season. So to an extent, SMU soccer fans expected a win against UTRGV even before a ball was kicked. But the game was perhaps more competitive than they had expected.


Junior Bailey Sparks got the campaign off and running on 14 minutes when he netted after a neat assist from sophomore Alexander Petraeus, and only seven minutes later, a sizzler of a debut goal from freshman Jaylinn Mitchell doubled the advantage.

It was only in the second half that UTRGV was able to string a few passes together, and in combination with some defensive lapses, Keaviano Francias pulled a goal back with about 15 minutes left on the clock. Minutes from time, SMU’s nerves were jangling, but the team held on to start the campaign victorious.

Much like we have come to expect from the team, SMU put in a good performance in a possession-based system, certainly from an attacking sense in the opening 45 minutes when Petraeus, Skilberg, Westergren, and debutant scorer Jaylin Mitchell all went close to scoring.

“I thought we were good in the first half – best we’ve played all preseason, said SMU head coach Kevin Hudson. “We’re happy to win but it wasn’t the elation of a big result accomplished.”

Dominating in almost every statistic, SMU put their best foot forward and finished the game with 16 shots compared to UTRGV’s three.

For freshman Jaylinn Mitchell, the goal was a moment he had been waiting for as he anticipated his debut. “Honestly, before every game I pray, and hope it [a goal] happens and thankfully today it did.”

Oliver Hald, Jelldrik Dallmans, and Bynum Lamar also made their debuts for the Mustangs on the night. 

The team opens the 2023 season ranked No. 19 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll, the association announced on Tuesday. The Mustangs are only one of three AAC to open the season in the top-25, alongside Tulsa and FIU.

Going into his ninth season at SMU, Coach Hudson has kept SMU soccer in the top 20 all through his entire stint at SMU. His challenge would be to revitalize the team as they have signed over 13 new players for the new season. 

For Corine Vilanueva, a parent of one of the players, it was a pleasure to watch her son Alex Salvo play for the Mustangs. “It was a long game in the heat but SMU won so we’re happy.”

SMU fans can look forward to the next game, as they face Central Arkansas on Monday at the Washburne Stadium in Dallas. SMU now has a 1-0-0 record for the season.

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