STARKVILLE, Miss. - Junior Jasmine Simmons scored two second-half goals, and sophomore Elisabeth Sullivan added another as Mississippi State rolled to a 3-0 victory against Samford Monday night in an exhibition match at the MSU Soccer Field.
The preseason emphasis on the attack paid off as Mississippi State out-shot Samford 23-9 on the night. Playing behind a stellar effort from the defensive line, junior goalkeeper Skylar Rosson collected four saves in the winning effort.
After playing to a scoreless tie in the opening 45 minutes, Sullivan put in the winner in the 73rd minute.
Senior Tarah Henderson sent a pass across the box that deflected off a Samford defender to Sullivan along the left side of the 18-yard box. The Memphis, Tenn., native fired a shot that hit the right post and deflected into the goal.
"I am very pleased with our performance tonight. I felt like we moved the ball around really well from the first whistle. Across the board, it was a good night for us," Bulldog head coach Neil Macdonald said. "We saw some little things we can tweak, but this was a good win against a very good Samford program."
Simmons extended State's lead to 2-0 off a Sullivan pass. The Oklahoma City native took the ball on the left side and hit the ball past Melissa Montgomery, who replaced starter Alyssa Whitehead 13 minutes earlier.
Whitehead turned back 10 MSU chances before surrendering Sullivan's winner.
Just under two minutes later, Simmons added her second goal of the night. Freshman Amy Hoover delivered a perfectly-placed ball between Samford defenders that Simmons deposited into the back of the net.
Mississippi State's stellar second-half effort came on the heels of an 11-shot opening half.
In the sixth minute, Henderson broke away for a one-on-one opportunity against Whitehead, but the Samford keeper knocked the ball away for one of State's four first-half corner kick opportunities.
Henderson also had goal-scoring opportunities turned away by Whitehead in the 11th and 30th minutes. Hoover also had a breakaway chance, but Whitehead managed to tip the ball away just before the Brookhaven rookie was able to get a foot on the ball.
Rosson turned away a pair of late Samford scoring chances to preserve the scoreless tie heading to halftime.
The Bulldogs open the regular season Sunday, traveling to Jonesboro, Ark., for a 2 p.m. match against Arkansas State. MSU opens the home campaign Sept. 9, taking on Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m. in the Bulldog Classic.