GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mississippi State's Kim Pettit scored a goal as the Bulldog soccer team fell 7-1 to No. 7 Florida Friday night at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville.
The loss dropped MSU to 7-5 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. Florida improved to 9-1-1 and 3-0 in the conference.
Pettit tied sophomore Rachel Wannek and freshman Elisabeth Sullivan for the team goals lead with her fourth of the season.
The Madison, Miss., native's score was setup by Sullivan in the 22nd minute. The Memphis, Tenn., rookie out-raced her defender down the right side and was fouled inside the 18-yard box.
Sullivan's penalty kick was stopped by UF goalie Katie Fraine, but Pettit ran in and punched the rebound into the left side of the net for the team's 20th score of the season, a mark that tied the 2007 team for the 10th-most in a season.
Pettit's goal put Mississippi State on the scoreboard after Florida scored three goals to open the match.
The Gators went up 1-0 on an Erika Tymrak scored in the 13th minute. UF extended the lead to 2-0 three minutes later and added the first half's final goal in the 13th minute.
State missed a chance to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 34th minute. Sophomore Jasmine Simmons lined a corner kick to classmate Madison McKee. McKee headed the ball to Kat Walsh in front of the net, but the Bulldog senior was unable to get a solid foot on the ball as Fraine made the stop.
Sullivan nearly had a goal with a minute left in the opening half. Sullivan turned from long range and fired a ball that was tipped over the top of the net by Fraine.
Florida extended the lead to 5-1 with a pair of goals in the first four minutes of the second half.
Walsh had another opportunity with 35:30 left in the match. Sullivan served a beautiful pass over the top of the defense to give Walsh a breakaway opportunity, but backup goalie Brooke Chancey managed to knock the ball away.
Lindsay Thompson put UF up 6-1 as she hit her second goal of the night in the 67th minute. Annis scored her second goal of the night with just under two minutes left in the game.
State closes the six-match road trip against No. 20 South Carolina on Sunday. The match kicks off at 1 p.m. CT and will be televised live on Comcast Sports Southeast.
AUBURN, Ala. - Mississippi State warmed up after a slow start Friday night at Auburn but was unable to recover in a straight-sets loss to the Tigers before 691 fans at AU's Student Activity Center. The Tigers (12-5, 3-2 SEC) powered past the Bulldogs (9-6, 1-3 SEC) 25-16 in the opening set before turning back Mississippi State challenges 25-21 and 25-23.
Auburn built up a 43-29 lead in kills and held a .225 to .083 edge in hitting while the Bulldogs, riding a season-best eight-block performance by senior middle Ashley Newsome, held an 11-5 team blocking edge at the net.
Junior Caitlin Rance paced the Bulldogs with 10 kills while AU's Sarah Bullock took match honors with 12 kills. The Tigers' 6-5 middle blocker Alyssa Davis came off the bench to tally eight.
"We didn't get the win to tonight, but I thought we improved some as a team," said second-year head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "We passed pretty well tonight, and that's something we emphasized this week in practice. We made some adjustments after that first set and were competitive with a good Auburn team over the last two sets. We've got to become more consistent in each set and continuing playing together as a team for a full match. But I saw us get better in some areas tonight."
The Bulldogs struggled offensively early on, managing but six kills while registering nine attack errors in a 25-16 opening set loss to the Tigers. Ashley Newsome teamed with Chanelle Baker for a block and delivered a kill for a 2-0 State lead. Though State would later tie the match three times, the Tigers got four kills from Sarah Bullock and tallied 12 kills en route to the opening stanza win.
State played a much stronger second set, hitting at a .321 clip and leading for much of the stanza. A kill by Newsome broke a 14-14 deadlock as State edged ahead 17-14. But after an Auburn timeout, the Tigers went on an 8-1 run en route to a 25-21 win and a 2-0 match lead at the break.
In the deciding third set, the Bulldogs and the Tigers battled on near-even terms, with State claiming an 11-10 lead on Newsome's third kill of the set. Auburn scored six of the next seven points to surge into the lead only to see the Bulldogs battle back to tie the score at 17-17 on a Caitlin Rance kill and at 22-22 on an Auburn attack error. Bullock then broke the deadlock with her match-leading 12th kill of the evening and the Tigers closed out the match.
Newsome continued her climb up MSU's career block solos chart Friday at Auburn. The senior from Florence, Ala., tallied two solo blocks and climbed to fourth in career block solos at State with 64.
State senior libero Kayla Woodard took match honors on defense with 16 digs.
The Bulldogs conclude their two-match SEC road swing Sunday in Athens, Ga., with a regionally-televised (FOX Sports Net South) match against Georgia (10-6, 2-3 SEC), a 3-1 winner Friday night over Alabama. First serve is set for 12 p.m. CT.