PonyFans.comBoard IndexAround the HilltopFootballRecruitingBasketballOther Sports

SMU's rise up the national soccer rankings isn't due to one

Soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field - anything not covered above gets discussed here.

Moderators: PonyPride, SmooPower

SMU's rise up the national soccer rankings isn't due to one

Postby AfricanMustang » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:40 pm

UNIVERSITY PARK -- Garrett McLaughlin describes his junior season as something he needed to "get through". It's a year that the SMU senior now acknowledges he probably shouldn't have played in.

McLaughlin was one of the best Mustangs players as a sophomore -- leading the AAC with 14 goals. But when he had Osteitis Pubis -- a condition that causes inflammation and creates a sharp pain in the abdomen -- he decided to play through it. And in SMU's 18 games, a less-than-healthy McLaughlin saw his production drop to just three goals.

"I wasn't clicking, I wasn't fast enough," McLaughlin said of the symptoms, which will take longer to go away if the person experiencing them continues physical activity. "It's really hard to do a crunch or do any ab movements. ... It's really hard to run. I struggled with that for a little over a year. I just tried to push through it."

It took until this summer for McLaughlin to be completely healthy. But now that he is, his resurgence has coincided with the rapid rise of SMU through the rankings. McLaughlin has scored goals in each of the last four games for No. 8 SMU (8-0, 1-0 AAC).

His seven goals lead the team and are two off the lead for best in the nation. SMU is No. 3 overall in scoring offense and tied for No. 2 overall in scoring defense. The Mustangs have outscored opponents this year 28-3.

"We have talent and we have potential, that's it," said head coach Kevin Hudson. "What we are, and I told the guys on the first team, is a talented team with a lot of potential. Those are fixed. You don't control talent and you don't control potential. Those are recruited. Those are innate."

The team started to really turn heads two weeks ago, when it went to then-No. 2 Duke and pulled off a 2-0 upset in Durham, N.C. Hudson said he saw the win coming. The Blue Devils had just played Virginia and had Clemson and North Carolina coming.

SMU was a trap game, and Hudson told his coaching staff beforehand that he anticipated his team would win.

It was McLaughlin who broke the ice in that game, scoring 22 minutes in to put the Mustangs in front for good. That was one of three game-winners he's had this year. The same player who toughed it out last year, even when it hurt to run, even when it hurt to pass the ball, was back scoring the biggest goals of his career.

"Garrett's a pretty quiet guy," Hudson said. "He managed it, but you could tell he was hurting most of the year. He still wanted to play. What makes him special is his movement, and how he can separate and create to space in behind. And having the extra burst and extra bit of pace really helps."

There have been other stars for this SMU team as it makes a run for a special season. Sophomore goalkeeper Shane Lanson came on as a replacement in a blowout win, and stayed on to back up the starter Grant Makela after he became sick. Even though Makela is healthy now, Lanson has held on to the job because of how he's played.

The Mustangs have five players who have scored at least three goals, and nine players who have scored at least one goal. The team is led, though, by McLaughlin.

"I never doubt his ability. I never doubt what he's capable of," said senior defender Eddie Munjoma, who has six goals himself. "And we're all human, we're not always gonna have the season that we want. And even though the last one wasn't the one that he wanted, he's showing his full ability right now."

SMU has a long history of success, especially with Hudson on the coaching staff. The program has been to the NCAA tournament in three of the last four years. But even in those years, the team hasn't had a start quite like this.

For SMU, there isn't just one hero. But there is one player who is setting himself apart, and one player in McLaughlin whose feel-good story is appreciated by everyone who saw what he chose to battle through in 2018.

"This season, we have a great group of guys," McLaughlin said. "And we can definitely go far."

https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/smu-m ... elf-apart/
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
― C.G. Jung
AfricanMustang
Junior Varsity
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:35 pm
Location: Washington DC

Return to Other Sports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest