JACKSON, Miss. - Sophomore Elisabeth Sullivan's second-half goal, her first strike of the season, carried Mississippi State to a 1-0 win against Jackson State Friday afternoon in Jackson, Miss.
The win gives Mississippi State a 1-3-0 record heading into next weekend's home opener. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Southern Miss in Hattiesburg on Sunday, but the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico forced that match to be rescheduled for 4 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 13 in Hattiesburg.
Sullivan's winner came in the 76th minute when she stole an errant Jackson State pass and broke through the defense. The Memphis, Tenn., native made a move past JSU goalkeeper Taylor Emerson and put the ball into the net from point-blank range.
The strike was the seventh of Sullivan's career and her first game-winning goal.
State out-shot the Tigers (0-2-0) 28-8, but posted only a one-shot advantage in on-goal opportunities. Head coach Neil Macdonald's team equally distributed the shots, firing 14 times in each half.
"I am proud of our girls for battling and getting the win. An away win is an away win, but I didn't think we played as well as we could have," Macdonald said. "We are capable of playing much better than we did today, so we have to get back to work and get ready to put on a couple of strong showings at home next weekend."
With the offense peppering shots at a rapid pace, Mississippi State's stifling defense made Sullivan's goal stand, limiting JSU to just two shots over the game's final 14 minutes.
Junior goalkeeper Skylar Rosson made five saves in the match as she posted the fourth shutout of her career.
The Bulldogs broke through in the game's final stretches after seeing several opportunities on the cloudy, windy afternoon just miss target.
State's first attempt came at the 11:08 mark in the opening half. Junior Jasmine Simmons sent one of State's 10 corner kicks into the six-yard box. Freshman Shannen Jainudeen's shot was blocked by Emerson, who made five saves, and the ball deflected in the air to Sullivan for a header that sailed just high of the crossbar.
In the 25th minute, freshman Amy Hoover went for her second goal of the season, but her attempt from distance was turned back by Emerson. Sullivan had another opportunity two minutes later, but Emerson once again made the save.
State started finding its offensive rhythm after the defense staved off some early challenges by the Tigers. The first came just two minutes in on a shot by Alexandra Goutier that Rosson managed to save. Five seconds later she turned away a Liana Knight attempt from the right side.
The Edmond, Okla., native made another save in the fourth minute as she tipped a Shahamin Nunes attempt over the top of the goal. Rosson's third stop of the opening half came at the 37:30 mark as she deflected a Micashea Bailey attempt.
Mississippi State put together four shots in the opening half's final 10 minutes, and the Dawgs continued the assault in the second half.
One minute into the final stanza, Simmons hit a shot just high of the target. Three minutes later Jainudeen put a head on a corner kick, but the rookie was unable to angle it past Emerson.
Simmons had an effort stopped by Emerson in the 54th minute, and another hit the post in the 64th.
After allowing five shots in the opening half, the Bulldogs limited Jackson State to just three attempts in the final stanza, including just one attempt between the posts.
With the rescheduling of Sunday's match, the Dawgs now return to action with next weekend's home-opening Bulldog Classic that includes Lipscomb, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the Golden Eagles. State challenges Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m. Friday before wrapping the tournament against Lipscomb at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Track and Field
SEWANEE, Tenn. - After a year away, Mississippi State returned to Tennessee to compete in the Sewanee Invitational, and when action ceased both the men's and women's squads were victorious.
In the four years prior to last year's absence, MSU had claimed four straight victories and with today's sweep that total was brought to four in five years.
For the Lady Bulldogs, it was Renee Masterson (21:37.26) crossing the line first in the 6K, followed by Haley Greenwell (21:42.53) in second. Joining Masterson and Greenwell in the Top 5 were Emma Neigel (22:22.53) and Jodie McGuff (22:25.49), who finished fourth and fifth respectively. In total, MSU took seven of the Top 10 places to claim 18 points and the victory.
"It felt great to win," Masterson said. "I was very impressed with the team, especially the freshman. They ran their hearts out. It was a test running a 6k this early in the season, but coach Franks had us prepared, and we proved to be strong. Today was only proof of how the rest of the season will go."
In MSU's 8K victory, it was Phillip Johnson (26:59.96) picking up his first victory as a Bulldog. Following Johnson across the line was John Valentine (27:29.97), Mike Clark (27:35.89) and Carson Britton (27:41.07) in third, fourth and fifth respectfully. When all was complete the Maroon and White finished with 24 points.
"It felt nice to get my first victory as a Bulldog," Johnson commented. "Coach Franks has really had us working on our pack running and it showed today. We ran as a team and we won as a team."
Following a return from Tenn., the Maroon and White will begin preparing to host and compete in the Bulldog Invitational on September 18.
STOCKTON, Calif. --- Senior outside hitter Caitlin Rance picked up her fifth all-tournament team honor in two seasons Saturday after leading Mississippi State (2-4) to a hard-fought 3-1 win (25-21, 25-23, 24-26, 25-15) over Army in the 33rd annual Community Bankers Classic. Earlier in the day the Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 decision (20-25, 22-25, 15-25) to Duquesne. State, which dropped a 3-0 opening round setback (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) to host and eventual champion Pacific, finished 1-2 in the tournament.
"We knew we were going to face some stiff challenges in this tournament," said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "I'm proud of our players for working through some early-season issues and pushing through for the win against Army. This level of competition will definitely help prepare us for the tough battles we'll face in the Southeastern Conference."
Hazelwood also offered praise for Rance. "She works so hard and is such a steady competitor. I'm happy that her hard work gets recognized with all-tournament honors."
The Bulldogs hit at a weekend-best .243 and rode the 20-kill, 10-dig performance by Rance in the win over Army. It marked Rance's third double-double of the year and the sixth time in as many matches that she's reached double figures in kills this season. Rance finished the weekend with 47 kills and 23 blocks and raised her season total to 98 kills.
MSU's other senior, middle blocker Hannah Wilkinson, tallied 10 kills and four blocks while sophomore setter Paris Perret reached double-double status with 44 assists and 19 kills in her best outing of the campaign.
State got another strong performance at the net from freshman middle Lainey Wyman. Wyman finished with eight kills and a match-leading eight blocks.
"Our freshmen got in a lot of playing time this weekend, and that should prove beneficial as we work to strengthen the depth of our team," said Hazelwood.
Rookie libero Bentley Witte recorded a match-high 23 digs.
Rance paced the Bulldogs with a match-leading 15 kills in the loss to Duquesne.
With four freshmen in the starting lineup, State stayed close throughout most of the first two sets, trailing by two points late at 22-20 in the opening stanza and 24-22 in the second set. Duquesne jumped out to a 5-1 lead to open the deciding third frame and pulled away from a 14-12 game to earn the win.
Freshmen Alex Scott, Rachel Williams, Lainey Wyman and Kristin Byers opened the match as starters along with libero Bentley Witte, who took match honors with 22 digs.
Allison Foschia paced the Dukes with 13 kills while Liz Homan recorded 10 kills on a .360 hitting performance and finished with a match-leading four blocks.
MSU resumes tournament competition Friday and Saturday in Beaumont, Texas, when State joins Texas-El Paso, Baylor and host Lamar University in the MCM Elegant Invitational.
STARKVILLE, Miss. --- A school-record 37 home games including non-conference matchups with Connecticut, Kansas, and first-time opponents Penn State and Washington State highlight the 56-game 2012 Mississippi State University baseball schedule announced this week by head baseball coach John Cohen.
The schedule includes 30 contests against Southeastern Conference foes and games against nine teams that advanced to the 64-team field of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
"This is an attractive schedule," said head coach John Cohen. "In addition to 15 home games against teams from the nation's toughest league - the Southeastern Conference - we also play a very challenging pre-conference schedule that includes a variety of teams from some great baseball conferences."
The Bulldogs open their 122nd season of baseball with 18 consecutive games at Dudy Noble Field, beginning with a three-game weekend series Feb. 17-19 against first-time opponent Washington State of the Pac-Ten Conference. Other newcomers to the MSU schedule faced during the home stand include Kansas Big 12 Conference foe Kansas, 2011 NCAA Super Regional team Connecticut from the Big East Conference, first-time foe Penn State of the Big 10 Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference member Mercer, making its first baseball appearance in Starkville since 1914.
The home conference lineup includes three-game weekend series against Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The Tennessee series Apr. 20-22 is a key component of 2012 Super Bulldog Weekend festivities on the MSU campus.
MSU welcomes Kansas and Mississippi Valley State to campus Feb. 24-26 for the first of two six-game tournaments at Dudy Noble Field in the opening weeks of the season. The Bulldogs later join Lipscomb and Connecticut in a similar tourney-style format Mar. 2-4.
The Diamond Dogs make two appearances at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., as the designated home team in Tuesday night matchups against Ole Miss (Apr. 17) and Southern Miss (Apr. 24).
The 2012 schedule includes 22 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 - Alabama, Alcorn State, Arkansas, Auburn, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt. UConn, like Mississippi State, advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals while Florida, Vanderbilt, and 2011 national champion South Carolina played in the NCAA College World Series.
The Bulldogs, who posted a 38-25 record and came with three innings of a berth in the 2011 CWS, begin fall baseball practice Sept. 23 at Dudy Noble Field.
2012 MSU Baseball Schedule
Game times to be announced SBW - Super Bulldog Weekend