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
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UCF victory boosts men’s soccer to second in conference

The No. 11 SMU men’s soccer team dominated the University of Central Florida Knights on Saturday night. The Mustangs’ second conference game and first conference win vaulted them to second place in the conference standings and improved their record to 6-2-2.

SMU came out of the gate strong by scoring the first goal of the game in the 14th minute. The goal came when junior midfielder Jeff Harwell scored off of a rebounded Dane Saintus shot. The goal was Harwell’s first of the year.

The Mustangs controlled the pace of the rest of the first half, but could not put together any scoring plays. The first half ended with a score of 1-0.

Both teams came out of halftime with a high energy level that manifested in a high number of total fouls. There were a total of 37 fouls with UCF credited with 20 of them, while the Mustangs were called for 17 fouls.

Along with the fouls, both teams received their fair share of yellow cards. UCF received four yellow cards throughout the game compared to SMU’s two. Even though the abundance of yellow cards suggests rampant unsportsmanlike conduct, they were really just a result of passionate play from both teams.

The second goal of the game came in the 63rd minute when SMU’s Richard Oliva scored on a shot from about 14 yards out. The goal was Oliva’s fifth of the season and makes him SMU’s leading goal scorer.

The shot deflected off a Knights defender after being set up by Saintus. He was credited with his fourth assist of the season.

A short time later, the Mustangs scored their third goal of the game in the 80th minute. The goal came when off of a free kick from about 25 yards out. Ryan Mirsky and Bruno Guarda gathered around the ball to take the free kick. Guarda faked taking the kick and Mirsky hit a laser shot into the top left corner of the goal.

It appeared the Mustangs would shut out the Knights until the 86th minute when they scored their only goal of the game. The Knights’ Mike Mattson scored on a 10-yard shot into the lower left corner set up by Akin Akinrinade.

In spite of the late goal, SMU goalkeeper Craig Hill held his own in just his second career start, making eight saves.

SMU head coach Schellas Hyndman thought, “Hill was great…he had a great save of a free kick that could have easily been a goal.”

Hill filled in for the Mustangs’ injured starting goalkeeper Steve Sandbo.

It would be reasonable for a goalkeeper in his second start, and first conference start, to be nervous. However, Hill noted how much fun he had playing out there. Regarding his nerves, Hill said, “After I got the first game out of the way, I was not really nervous about starting the game at all.”

The Mustangs do not play again until Saturday, Oct. 13, against the Marshall Thundering Herd. They are ranked third in the conference and have an overall record of 7-3-1. The game will take place at 6 p.m. at Marshall.

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