Steve Robertson -

Mississippi State soccer will recognize their senior players on Sunday

The Mississippi State Bulldogs women soccer team is finally starting to catch their stride now showing out a three game win streak as they headed into their first conference game this upcoming weekend against the Razorbacks of Arkansas on Friday night. The Razorbacks have had a great season so far by posting a five game win streak including a win against the #2 ranked team in the nation Duke University, however that streak was snapped this past weekend for their first loss of the season.

The Bulldogs have struggled from a lack of intensity to start matches and also have not been sharp against set pieces in previous matches, but as of late Coach Aaron Gordon really has the team doing well winning three in a row. The Bulldogs had to be ready as Arkansas would be trying to get revenge and get back in the winning column. It would  not be easy for these Bulldogs though as the Arkansas team is loaded with firepower. Through six games so far the Razorbacks have scored 17 goals in comparison to the Bulldogs who have just nine. Coach Gordon and company should be comforted a little bit though as they have Tanya De Souza, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week, guarding their goal and anchoring the Bulldog back line.

To start off the match the Bulldogs turned up the attack gaining two corner kicks early and keeping the ball on Arkansas’ side of the field. This would turn into many chances as a cross by Ari Holmes floated just wide of the post. Then two minutes later, Mallory Eubanks had her shot blocked right outside of the box after recovering it off of a corner kick. All these missed opportunities would turn to greatness when the Razorbacks defense was spread out the ball fell to MaKayla Waldner, as she played a beautiful through ball that split Arkansas’ center backs and rolled right to Kennadi Carbin’s right foot and she slammed it past the keeper into the back of the net. This put the Bulldogs ahead of the #25 team in the nation 1-0 in just the 11th minute of action. Carbin was yellow carded by the official promptly after scoring the goal for wearing jewelry on the field.

The Arkansas women would not let that hold them back as they went on the counter attack drawing fouls against the bulldogs and putting balls into the box making the Bulldog back line nervous. Then the unavoidable happened in the 17th minute when the Razorbacks crossed the ball in and freshman midfielder Kayla McKeon equalized the game. The assistant referee initially called McKeon off sides and disqualified the goal but after talking it over with the head official the off sides call was overturned making the score 1-1. This over turning resulted in Coach Gordon receiving a yellow card from the head official immediately following the call.

The game settled down for a while as both teams struggled to gain possession and really gain a legitimate counter attack against each other. The Razorbacks and the Bulldogs traded corner kicks back and forth but in the 29th minute Mississippi State would break through again. The Bulldogs had a corner kick which was headed out to Khalyn Harmon who laid it off to Ari “The Tank” Holmes who blasted the ball back into the box. The ball was high arcing and heading towards the goal while Bulldog players rushed towards the Arkansas goalkeeper, the keeper jumped to grab the ball but it deflected off of her hands and bounced into the back of the net making the score line 2-1 for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The Arkansas team is not known for giving up and they are also known for scoring a lot of goals which is exactly what they did again in the 38th minute after a bad pass by Kennadi Carbin the Razorbacks played the ball up to their redshirt-senior Lindsey Mayo who avoided getting tackled by Ari Holmes who was diving in. She turned past Holmes and only took one touch then rocketed the ball into the lower 90 right corner of the net to make the game 2-2. And then just as quick as they scored the 2nd goal the Razorbacks took another shot in the 43rd minute which hit the post and deflected back off of Lindsey Mayo for the Razorbacks and dropped into the goal making the score 3-2 right before the halftime whistle. “I thought as a team we played great in the first half. I thought we did some really good things, we actually at times defended the first ball pretty well it was just the chaos that ensued afterwards that I thought they (Arkansas) did a good job of pouncing on those opportunities” said Coach Gordon about his teams first half performance.

The second half started off just the same as the first half left off as the Razorbacks we pouring on the attack against the Bulldogs defense. After giving up a corner kick the ball was crossed back into the middle and freshman Kayla McKeon volleyed the ball into the back of the net making the scoreline 4-2 for the Razorbacks in the 57th minute. At this point the #25 team in the nation started to settle in and take control over the game. They possessed the ball more and led well-structured attacks versus the Bulldogs defense which resulted in the yet another goal for the Razorbacks. Khalyn Harmon committed a foul outside of the 18 yard box near the corner flag and the Arkansas senior Claire Kelley took the free kick and just guided to the back post right over goalkeeper Tanya De Souza’s head making the new score 5-2 for the Razorbacks.

Mississippi State put up a great fight versus the Razorbacks, but the #25 team in the nation proved to be too much for Coach Gordon’s squad tonight as they fell 5-2.” The Bulldogs now 4-3 on the season will look to get a better result on Sunday afternoon against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in Starkville. “It’s Sunday and its senior day so we need to win for our seniors and we need to bounce back, forget this game, and move on” Coach Gordon expressed about Sunday’s match up versus Louisiana-Lafayette. The Rajun Cajun’s (4-3) will come into Starkville fresh off a win 2-1 over McNeese State, so it should be a real competitive match for the Bulldogs.

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