Mississippi State closed out their non-conference schedule with as they defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 2-1. Mallory Eubanks shined bright yet again by scoring the first goal of the game and then again late delivering the assist to senior Mila Coner who gave the Bulldogs the win on Senior Day. The Bulldogs went 5-2 in out of conference games and look to build on that now in SEC play.
The Vanderbilt Commodores (4-4) are on a two game losing streak coming into the game versus the Bulldogs so Ari Holmes, Tanya De Souza, and the rest of the back line need to be prepared for the Commodores to bring everything they have. Although Vanderbilt ranks at the very bottom of the SEC in shots, they rank 6th in goals meaning when they have their chances they usually put them away. The Bulldogs have only allowed one or less goals in their five wins this season, Commodores Senior Sasha Gray has four goals on the season herself so it would be up to the tough Mississippi State defense to keep her away from the net if they want to record their first SEC win of the season. Historically the Commodores have had their way with The contest started out with a lightning delay that pushed the start time back from 2 pm to 3:50 pm, along with the lightning there was a massive pouring of rainfall that drenched the Mississippi State pitch.
When the game finally did start it did not seem to affect the teams as they came out fast and excited. The ball was played in the air towards Mississippi State forward MaKayla Waldner at the edge of the 18 yard box, a Vanderbilt defender came over the top of her and headed it away but she fouled Waldner in the process. Then central defender Courtney Robicheaux stepped up to take the free kick right outside of the box for the Bulldogs. It was a perfect strike with no spin, over the wall and dipping back downward, and just clipped the underside of the crossbar and in to make the score 1-0 for the Bulldogs in just the 4th minute of the game. Last time the Bulldogs scored early against an SEC opponent they gave up the equalizer very quickly after it so the Mississippi State defense looked to not let one in quickly again.
The Bulldog defense held strong as they cleared out many of the Vanderbilt attacks anf forged some of their own in the rest of the first half. They got all the way down to only 3 minutes left in the half before the brick wall they had built was torn down by the Commodores. In the 42nd minute of the first half, the Vanderbilt defense had built a reputation for holding possession very impressively and as they swung the ball across the back line it went out wide right. The Vanderbilt right midfielder Nia Dorsey made a nice move to get past one bulldog and dribbled 55 yards down the sidelined untouched while being chased down, Dorsey then proceeded to play a great ball on the ground across the penalty spot and then midfielder Lydia Simmons came in and swiftly finessed the shot right past Tanya De Souza for the equalizer just before the halftime whistle. It was heartbreak for Coach Aaron Gordon and the Bulldogs as they had played a fantastic first half and played well matched with the Commodores up until that equalizer.
In the second half the Vanderbilt Commodores picked up right where they left off as they dominated the possession and counter attacked relentlessly against the Bulldogs. They racked up 19 shots total and 11 of them were on goal along with many close chances that either went wide or barely missed the touch. The Bulldogs didn’t let this phase them though as they kept on fighting back. They had many chances of their own as in MaKayla Waldner played a through ball over the top to star forward Mallory Eubanks giving her a 1 on 1 against the Commodores goal keeper who made a great save on the shot by Eubanks which could’ve been a winner. But all in all neither team could break through each other’s defenses again in regulation which resulted in a tie 1-1.
In the first period of overtime, it told the same story as the second half with no breakthroughs and even play throughout as both teams struggled to find the game winner but then yet again one overtime period couldn’t separate the two teams. In the second overtime it finally happened, Vanderbilt’s Danae O’Halloran played in the ball to Hannon Eberts who scored the game winning goal making the game 2-1 for the Vanderbilt Commodores. This marks the Vanderbilt Commodores first SEC win of the season and eliminates their own two game losing streak.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-4) are 0-2 in SEC play and will be even more heartbroken as both games were lost on their home pitch in dramatic fashion as they played awesome first half’s until the last couple of minutes and then just couldn’t get over the hump in the second half. The Mississippi State women will look to bounce back on the road next weekend as they take on in state and long time hated rival Ole Miss on Friday and then at Missouri on Sunday afternoon.