[SMU MEN] With a 5-0-0 record, No. 21 SMU is already within one victory of matching the total of last year when the Mustangs went 6-8-2 and suffered their first losing season and first season with less than 10 wins since the program began in 1975.
As recently as 2007, the Mustangs were No. 1 in the Soccer America Top 25 rankings, but they then fell on hard times, failing to make the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009. It broke a streak of 14 straight postseason appearances.
The downturn followed the departure of long-time coach Schellas Hyndman, who was named the head coach of MLS's FC Dallas.
But in his third season as head coach, Tim McClements has SMU back in the national picture.
At Tulsa's Hurricane Classic, SMU beat SIU-Edwardsville, 1-0, and Western Illinois, 2-1.
"It was a really solid performance by the guys top to bottom," said McClements. "We went out, played hard and were able to maintain possession for a lot of the game. [Western Illinois] scored a really nice goal late in the game, but the guys did a great job and held on to get the win. Playing on the road is difficult, and having to play afternoon games on both days is pretty tough - but it's been a great start."
Freshman Juan Castillo, who tallied the game-winner in both games, was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week.
Castillo, who played for Houston's Texans SC DTH, was one of six freshmen to play at least 40 minutes against Western Illinois.
The others were Zach Barnes, AJ Corrado, Ben Hill, Max Rockwell and Chris Sendejas.