STARKVILLE, Miss. - Kat Walsh and her fellow seniors will always remember their final game wearing the Maroon & White at the MSU Soccer Field. Her goal in the 78th minute gave the Mississippi State soccer team a 2-1 win against Ole Miss and possession of the Magnolia Cup on a cold Friday night in front of a school-record crowd of 875.
Head coach Neil Macdonald's Dawgs bring the Magnolia Cup back to Starkville for the first time since 2005.
Walsh's goal came nine minutes after Kim Pettit headed in the equalizer in the 69th minute. Fellow senior Danielle Kite delivered a perfectly-placed pass between defenders to freshman Elisabeth Sullivan. The Memphis, Tenn., rookie then crossed the ball across the box to Walsh, and she fired the clincher past UM goalkeeper Sarah Story.
The Birmingham, Ala., native's winner, her second goal of the season, wrapped a brilliant career that saw her finish 10th in MSU career history with 11 goals. She netted the sixth-game winner of her career, moving her past her sister, Shannon, for third in the school record books.
"It was just awesome! I wasn't thinking. I composed myself and just prayed that it would go in," an emotional Walsh said. "This season has been frustrating with the injuries, so this is the right way to leave. It's awesome."
The Bulldogs (8-12, 1-10 SEC) laid everything on the line in the final match of 2010, out-shooting the Rebels 25-15 and placing 10 shots within the frame.
"It was a great effort from the first whistle to the last. They were very committed tonight despite the injuries, and I thought we really performed well," Macdonald said. "I think we really wanted it. The season has been disappointing with the injuries, but we had a couple back tonight and it helped."
After both teams battled to a stalemate in the opening half, Ole Miss' Taylor Cunningham broke the scoreless tie with a 47th-minute goal.
State never stopped fighting, however, and Pettit nailed the equalizer at the 68:27 mark. Following a foul, sophomore Jasmine Simmons served a ball to the 18-yard box, and Pettit soared above her defender and headed the ball into the left side of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
With just over 13 minutes left, Mississippi State cleared away a Rebel corner kick. Kite ran the ball down in the midfield and found Sullivan, who in turn found Walsh for the go-ahead score.
Sullivan's assist was her team-leading fifth of the season. She ended a sensational rookie campaign tied for fifth in points and goals by a Bulldog freshman.
The Dawgs' defense managed to hold off a potent Ole Miss offense the rest of the way to set off a celebration once the final whistle blew.
Mississippi State sophomore Skylar Rosson finished the night with three saves, tying Jennifer Croisant (1995) for the fifth-most saves (110) by a Bulldog.
"We have a good young team who will take a lot from this win tonight," Macdonald said. "They will take a look at tonight and realize that it's all about heart and commitment."
BUENES AIRES, Argentina - On the opening day of the World Amateur Team Championship, Mississippi State men's golf's very own Robi Calvesbert finished 1-over-par as he represents his native Puerto Rico in the four-round tournament.
In the first round Calvesbert posted a 1-over-par 73, which included eight pars made, three birdies and an eagle on a par 5 at hole 15.
Calvesbert is currently tied for 33rd among the 207-player individual field and his country Puerto Rico is in a tie for ninth among the 69-team field.
Calvesbert will tee off tomorrow at 8:29 a.m. CT and results will be made available at www.mstateathletics.com.
NICEVILLE, Fla. - A trio of Bulldogs for the Mississippi State men's tennis team got the opening day of the Niceville Futures off to a nice start.
State's Louis Cant, George Coupland and Max Gregor all tallied victories on the first day. Cant won his opening day match in straight-sets, 6-1, 6-1. Coupland also picked up a straight-set victory, 6-2, 6-2. Gregor won in a retired match against his teammate Zach White.
The Bulldogs will continue Niceville Futures action on Saturday and results will be made available at www.mstateathletics.com.