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

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Mustangs continue to rack up postseason accolades

While the Mustangs are far from finishing business in the postseason, they continue to receive honors for their breakout regular season and Conference USA Championship run.

The league crowned head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner as Coach of the Year on Thursday, after she guided SMU to a 27-2 record in her third season.

Longbotham-Meisner declined to comment on the award, but told SMU assistant director Erin McMillan that she was “very excited” for her team’s accomplishments.

Marta Lesniak picked up Freshman of the Year and conference Singles Player of the Championship, and she and doubles partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova won Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship.

Lesniak and Malyarchikova also learned on Thursday that they will compete in the NCAA Individual Championships. Lesniak will compete in singles, and the freshman duo will compete in doubles. The NCAA Individual Championships are formatted essentially the same as the team championships-64 players compete in a single elimination tournament-but individual championships will take place after the team title has been decided.

On Wednesday, Lesniak, Malyarchikova and senior Natalia Bubien were named to the conference’s first team for their regular season and postseason efforts. It was Bubien’s third consecutive appearance on the first team. Also, the No. 32-ranked doubles pair of Lesniak and Malyarchikova were selected to the conference’s first team, and sophomore Nicole Briceno was a third-team selection in singles.

Early in the season the Mustangs were already much improved from an injury-plagued squad in 2008, but they really took off after Lesniak and Malyarchikova became eligible in late February. SMU is a perfect 15-0 since the freshman duo joined the lineup.

Lesniak stepped into the No. 1 singles spot and has amassed a 13-1 record. In her first match, Lesniak upset the No. 2-ranked singles player in the nation, the University of Arkansas’ Aurelija Miseviciute. The freshman from Wroclaw, Poland, has climbed all the way to the No. 59 singles ranking, making her the highest-ranked singles player in the conference.

Malyarchikova is 13-0 in singles this season and has earned a No. 116 national ranking. The Minsk, Belarus, native didn’t drop a set in the conference tournament.

SMU begins the NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9, when they face the Texas A&M Aggies (14-10) in Waco. The winner likely will face the host Baylor Bears, the No. 4-ranked team in the country, to decide who advances to the tournament’s final weekend.

It is the Mustangs’ first NCAA appearance since 2004 and only their third in the last two decades. This year’s team accomplished the best winning percentage in school history.

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