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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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Mustangs win MVC conference tournament

Men’s soccer moves closer to national championship

After finding out that many of its players were named to the All-Conference teams, its goalie was the Missouri Valley Conference defensive player of the year and its coach won yet another coach of the year award, the Mustangs did what they were expected to do … win the conference tournament.

After disposing of Vanderbilt in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, the Mustangs were set to travel to Omaha, Neb., for the final two games of the contest. Before their next step towards a championship occurred, the regular season awards were presented and many SMU players were honored.

Senior Goalkeeper T.J. Tomasso was named MVC defensive player of the year, and Coach Hyndman added another coach of the year trophy to his mantle. In addition, senior Ugo Ihemelu and sophomore Alex Smith received All-MVC first team honors while junior David Chun was named to the second team. Israel Jones earned All-Freshman team honors and Scott Corbin received an honorable mention.

Individual awards are always great, but a conference championship is what counts. Friday night’s semi-final game against Bradley was one step closer to reaching that championship goal.

The game ended the same way it began … a tie. The score was knotted at 1-1 due to a successful penalty kick by Mynor Gonzalez at the 68:20 minute mark. After two 10-minute scoreless overtimes, the game was sent to a shootout, ending with a 5-3 SMU victory.

SMU was given the first shot of the shootout phase, and Gonzalez connected with his second goal of the game. Bradley answered back with a goal of their own. Sophomore Alex Smith successfully kicked next for SMU. Bradley refused to go away quietly, as they again scored a tying goal. Freshman Scott Corbin gave SMU a 3-2 advantage.

MVC defensive player of the year, T.J. Tomasso, did what he does best; saved a shot. Junior Kellan Zindel gave the Mustangs a 4-2 lead, but again Bradley followed it up with a goal.

Finally, sophomore Jay Needham sealed the deal with the final shot of the night. The goal gave the Mustangs a 5-3 win and a one way ticket to the championship game against Tulsa.

The Tulsa Hurricanes were playing for an automatic bid into the national tournament and the Mustangs, being ranked No. 3 in the nation, were simply playing for home field advantage. The intensity was obvious, but the Mustangs were able to fulfill their goal with a 2-1 championship victory.

The game literally came down to the wire, but senior Ryan Latham scored with 22.4 seconds left on the clock to win the game. With their second consecutive conference championship under their belt, the Mustangs head to the national championship with a record of 15-3-1.

The Mustangs drew the seventh seed in this year’s NCAA tournament and will receive a first-round bye.

They will face the first-round match-up winner between Cal and Santa Clara on Nov. 23 at Westcott Field.

SMU is making its 11th consecutive NCAA post-season tournament appearance and the 20th out of the last 21 years, with 1993 as the lone season in which SMU did not receive a post-season berth.

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