STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State soccer team rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit, but was unable to pull out the victory, falling 2-1 in overtime to Arkansas-Little Rock Friday night at the Bulldog Classic presented by Holiday Inn Express.
The loss drops State to 1-1 on the year, while UALR picked up its first win of the season to move to 1-2 overall.
MState fell behind 1-0 as Jessica Beaver slipped behind the State defense and slipped a pass from Grace Rich past Bulldog goalkeeper Taryn Holland.
The Trojans took the one goal edge to the half, but State quickly answered as Mary Kate Ayers scored from 21 yards away just three minutes into the half to knot the game at a goal apiece.
The Bulldogs controlled ball possession most of the second half, out-shooting the Trojans 12-8. Overall, State took 18 shots in the contest to UALR's 15. Holland saved a season-high six shots for the Bulldogs.
The two teams traded possession for the first seven minutes of overtime, but with just under three minutes remaining, Rich dribbled into the box and slipped the game-winner into the right side of the net.
"We're obviously disappointed. We came out flat the first 20 minutes and gave them a lot of confidence," head coach Neil Macdonald said. "They really dug in and worked hard. We got better as the game went on, but were unable to make anything happen."
The Bulldogs return to the field Sunday, taking on Northwestern State in a 2 p.m. kickoff.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State successfully raised the curtains on its 2008 volleyball season Friday night, besting Arkansas-Pine Bluff in straight sets in opening round competition at the two-day MSU Classic. The Bulldogs topped the Lady Lions 25-15, 25-11, 25-23 for State's fifth consecutive season-opening win under head coach Tina Seals.
"With so many new players in our program this year, we knew going into the match that we have to take things one step at a time," said Seals. "Tonight was one of those steps. We lost our focus a little in that final set, but we were able to come up with the plays when we needed them to preserve the shutout."
The Bulldogs test Troy University at 10 a.m. Saturday and close out the MSU Classic with a 7 p.m. match against Colorado.
Outside hitter Cristina Jucan, the lone senior on the youthful State squad, tallied a match-high seven kills on a .294 hitting night. Sophomore middle blocker Ashley Newsome paced the Bulldogs at the net, backing her four-kill effort with five total blocks, including a pair of solo stops. MSU's other veteran outside hitter, junior Ioana Demian, finished with four kills and seven digs. Sophomore libero Kayla Woodard tallied a match-leading 10 digs while Demian added seven. Junior setter Dorey Gray finished with 20 assists.
Five of Mississippi State's school-record nine freshmen made their collegiate debuts in Friday's winover UAPB. Rookie Faith Steinwedell had six kills and three assisted blocks while yearling Mandy Mellencamp hit a team-best .333 with five kills and served up three aces.
Mellencamp and Jucan registered three kills each in the second set when the Bulldogs hit at a match-best .400 clip. State was unable to maintain that pace in the third set, trailing 21-19 before rallying to out-point the Lady Lions 6-2 down the stretch to nail down the win.
Jasmine Jacobs led UAPB with four kills and Mica Franklin finished with seven digs.
Colorado also posted a season and tournament-opening win Friday, turning back Troy University in straight sets, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22. Alex Buth and Amber Sutherland recorded 13 kills and 11 kills respectively, while Troy got an eight-kill performance by Aubre Smith.
The MSU Classic continues with four matches Saturday at the Newell-Grissom Building, where there is no charge for admission.