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


Mustangs ready to serve up new season this week at Turpin Tennis Stadium

When the fall portion of the men’s tennis schedule ended with the ITA Region Championships, head coach Carl Neufeld said the team’s performance was “a testament to their being one of the hardest-working and focused teams” he had ever coached.

As the spring season begins this week, Neufeld feels the team’s solid work ethic has prepared them for the coming spring.

“The guys were incredible with their commitment to early morning workouts,” Neufeld said. “Right now we are in the best shape and condition we’ve been in for a long time.”

As with recent years, the Mustangs have a difficult schedule, starting with a season opener against No. 7 Baylor on Thursday at Turpin Tennis Stadium. Other ranked opponents include No. 2 Texas, conference foes No. 13 Tulsa and No. 24 Rice, No. 22 Oklahoma State and No. 25 California, as well as a solid Fresno State team at the National Indoors in California.

“This is possibly the toughest schedule we’ve ever had. It’s exciting and will be a good test for the team throughout the season,” said Neufeld. “You want to play as many tough teams as possible to gain that experience.”

Experience is something the Mustangs will need to acquire quickly. Last year was another impressive season to add to Neufeld’s resume. The Mustangs finished with a 20-9 record – their best since 2001, ranked No. 43 in the nation (No. 7 in the region) and with an NCAA tournament appearance.

Two seniors, Alex Skrypko and David Kuczer, were second All-Conference USA team selections, and the Mustangs were seeded third in the conference tournament. However, with no returning seniors for the 2008-2009 season, finding leadership could be Neufeld’s biggest challenge.

“Team leaders are not chosen as much as they emerge on the court,” Neufeld said. “So with such a young team, it is yet to be seen who will emerge as our leaders.”

Juniors Robin Fahgen and Chris Hooshyar are the oldest of the men’s squad and will be leading the way for the team. Fahgen was a first All-Conference USA selection last year, and Hooshyar was the only Mustang to post a victory during the team’s first-round NCAA tournament loss to Texas A&M.

Several sophomores are stepping up their level of play for the 2008-2009 season. Darren Walsh, Brian Griffin and Adham el-Effendi are all competing for starting positions on the team, and Neufeld says, “all will be playing quite a bit.”

The future looks bright for the Mustangs’ tennis team. With fewer upperclassmen than in years before, look for the Mustangs’ youth to play a vital role in the team’s success throughout the season.

Neufeld continues to attract top talent to the Hilltop, and this year is no exception. Kyle Van Buskirk, a freshman from La Jolla, Calif., had a largely successful high school career, which included leading his team to the California Interscholastic Federation Division II Championship.

Gerardo Armendariz was a member of the Mexican National Junior Team.

“There is an opportunity for everyone to contribute,” said Neufeld. “They were recruited to SMU because of their talent, and there will be early opportunities for all to contribute.”

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