JONESBORO, Ark. - Freshman Amy Hoover scored her first collegiate goal as Mississippi State fell 3-1 to Arkansas State in the season opener Sunday afternoon in Jonesboro, Ark.
Hoover's strike in the 59th minute came off a pass from senior Tarah Henderson. The Brookhaven, Miss., rookie collected the ball in the middle of the box and fired a shot past ASU goalie Bethany Kremer into the left side of the net.
The Bulldogs (0-1-0) ended the match with 17 shots. State put five of those chances on target, but it also had additional scoring possibilities thwarted by 11 offside calls.
Junior goalkeeper Skylar Rosson made six saves in the match.
Hoover's equalizer came after Kara Nitti put the Red Wolves (1-0-1) up 1-0 with a goal at the 12-minute mark of the opening half.
Although Mississippi State was unable to strike in the inaugural 45 minutes, the Dawgs did create some scoring chances. Five minutes after the opening whistle, Henderson broke behind the defense only to have her shot sail wide of target.
Junior Jasmine Simmons had her 21st-minute attempt carry left of goal, and Hoover missed high on her attempt a minute later.
Mississippi State freshman Shannen Jainudeen was inches away from hitting the equalizer in the 39th minute. With the ball at her feet just beyond the 18-yard box, she had ASU goalie Bethany Kremer beat only to see her attempt catch the crossbar and carry high.
"I'm disappointed with the result, but we learned a lot about our team. It was a tough game, and give credit to Arkansas State because they really battled hard," Bulldog head coach Neil Macdonald said. "We faced some adversity today, but we have to learn from today's game, stay together and keep being positive."
After Hoover hit her second-half equalizer, Arkansas State scored the winner as Ashley McMurtry found Stasha Stiers for a 76th-minute goal.
State continued to apply offensive pressure, but the Dawgs were unable to put the tying goal in the net on shots from Lauren Morgan, Serena Prendergast and Jainudeen.
Michele Clark added the game's final goal as she put in a Jessica Jingblad free kick at 87:27.
The Bulldogs head to California this weekend for the UC Riverside Women's Soccer Invitational. Mississippi State meets the host Highlanders at 9 p.m. CT on Friday before wrapping the trip against 17th-ranked UC Irvine at 12 p.m. CT on Sunday.