STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head soccer coach Neil Macdonald has been pleased with the effort of his team during preseason workouts. He hopes that same effort continues Monday night as the Dawgs host Samford in a 7 p.m. exhibition match at the MSU Soccer Field.
Admission to the match is free, and a live video stream of the match will be available at www.mstateathletics.com/m2mlive.
The exhibition match continues preparation for the Dawgs' 2011 opener at Arkansas State on Aug. 21.
This year's Mississippi State edition returns 16 letterwinners, including nine starters, from last year's squad that closed the season with a Magnolia Cup-clinching victory against in-state rival Ole Miss.
MSU returns 68-percent of the goal scoring from 2010, including leading point producer Elisabeth Sullivan. The sophomore from Memphis ranked among the SEC's top-scoring freshmen, producing 17 points on six goals and five assists.
Senior Kim Pettit and junior Madison McKee, a pair of Mississippi products, aim to build on a 2010 campaign that saw them each post career-best numbers. Pettit netted 10 points on five goals a year ago, while McKee scored three times and added an assist.
Defensively, the 2011 Bulldogs return junior goalkeeper Skylar Rosson and sophomore defender Morganne Grimes. In her first year as the full-time starter, Rosson stopped 110 shots in 1,512 minutes. Grimes, a Fayetteville, Ga., native and team captain along with Pettit and McKee, assisted on a pair of goals while proving to be one of the top rookie defenders in the conference in 2010.
Monday's match will also be the first action for four newcomers. Brookhaven, Miss., native Amy Hoover and Canadian midfielder Dana Forbes will add options on the attack, while Canada native Shannen Jainudeen and Texas standout Olivia Drapes will provide depth on defense.
Mississippi State meets a Samford squad that returns seven starters from last year's team that recorded a 13-6-3 record and finished second in the Southern Conference.
The Birmingham-based Bulldogs bring back a potent offense led by Trine Taule's nine goals and three assists. Sarah Wilkinson also returns after scoring 11 points on five goals and an assist.
Junior Alyssa Whitehead will be back between the posts after stopping 84 shots for a 0.84 goals against average last season.