MSU Soccer Team Loses SEC Opener

The Missisippi State soccer team opened the SEC season at home with a loss to Tennessee, 3-0. Mississippi State, ranked #14 in the Soccer Buzz Central Region earlier this week, goes to 3-4-1 for the season (0-1-0 SEC). Tennessee, ranked #16 in the latest top 25, is now 4-2-2 for the season (1-0-0 SEC).<P>

Post-game Q & A with MSU head coach Neal MacDonald

What were your impressions of the game tonight?
"I thought we played very well, in the first half in particular. Then we lost a killer goal. It was a horrible goal to lose. She must have been 45 yards out when she hit that ball. Our goalkeepers need to do a better job of moving their feet and getting rid of that ball. If you were to ask Angie (Kelly, Tennessee's head coach), she would say it was a great shot from 45 yards. If you ask me, I would say it was a terrible defensive error on our part. We had played very, very well up to that point. Unfortunately, soccer is a game of momentum. When you lose that momentum like that, it really hurts. It was a killer goal, and it changed the face of the game. Again, I thought we did well. The second goal looked to me like it was 5 yards offside. That's one of those things that we can't control. It's one of those things that's disappointing. It was a crucial time. We were just about to change the system. It looked like we were getting into it. We lost a bad goal at a bad time. Overall, I'm not disappointed. I think it's a wake-up call for the girls. Now they'll know what its all about playing in the SEC."

You mentioned that the goalkeepers needed to be more defensive. Is that why you switched goalkeepers at the half?
"Stephanie (Dallas) has done a great job. You have to remember she is a true freshman. When we played Southern Cal, we lost a very, very similar goal at a crucial stage where we again lost the momentum. I gave her the benefit of the doubt the first time, but I couldn't here. Emily (Meyers) has been working hard and deserves a chance, and she did well. I thought she did really well."

Do you think having this week and a half off from playing had any effect on your play tonight?
"I don't think so. That would be an excuse. I wouldn't want to use that as an excuse."

Do you have any injuries?
"Jessica Davis has a bad ankle. Apart from that, I think everyone else is fine."

Mary Ann Swindoll is the editor of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact her by email at

STARKVILLE, Miss.-- Visiting and 16th-ranked Tennessee scored with just less than three minutes remaining in the opening stanza to forge a halftime lead, then added a pair of goals in second half play to turn back homestanding Mississippi State, 3-0, in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Friday evening at the Mississippi State Soccer Field.

Tennessee (4-2-2, 1-0-0 SEC), who has now won three of four outings since tieing then-No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 10 in Knoxville, Tenn., fired off 24 shots in the contest and held the Bulldogs (3-4-1, 0-1-0 SEC) to just eight in securing the victory. The win dropped MSU¹s record in SEC openers to 2-8-0.

Tennessee took the first four shots of the contest before Kevyn Shelledy fired off her first of three on the night 21 minutes into the opening period. Although firing off shots at will, the Lady Vols had loads of trouble cracking the MSU defense until Ali Christoph fired a prayer from 45 yards out that found its way under the crossbar and over the outstretched fingers of rookie netminder Stephanie Dallas. UT would take the 1-0 lead, as well as a 13-3 shot disparity, into the break.

Having come out of the halftime gates on fire, the Maroon and White found quality chances early and managed to take the first three shots of the period, but finally found their first shot on goal in the 81st minute when Betty Ann Casey¹s scorcher barely caught the hands of all-SEC goalkeeper Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart. Jenny Jeffers found Emily Redberg with a beautiful pass on a transition play in the 79th tick and the striker found herself one-on-one with MSU goalkeeper Emily Meyers before finishing with a shot to the far post for the 2-0 lead.

Lyndsey Patterson would give the visitors the insurance goal with 2:30 remaining when she took a service from Sue Flamini in traffic just a handful of yards in front of the nets and finished with the one-timer for the 3-0 final.

The Maroon and White will return to action on Sunday afternoon when the Bulldogs entertain SEC Eastern Division rival Georgia (2-4-2, 0-1-0) at 1 p.m. Admission to all 2004 MSU Soccer home games is free.

At Starkville, Miss. (MSU Soccer Field)

#16 Tennessee 1 2 - 3
Mississippi State 0 0 - 0

42:23 UT Ali Christoph (Unassisted)
78:50 UT Emily Redberg (Jenny Jeffers)
87:30 UT Lyndsey Patterson (Sue Flamini)

Shots: UT 24 (Lockaby 5), MSU 8 (Shelledy 3). Shots On Goal: UT 13 (Christoph, Patterson 3). Saves: UT 2 (Phillips-Bosshart), MSU 10 (Meyers 5). Corner Kicks: UT 6, MSU 2. Fouls: UT 13, MSU 14. Cautions And Ejections: MSU, Casey (55:23); MSU, Suh (56:21). Offsides: UT 1, MSU 3. Att. ­ 403.

Source: MSU Media Relations

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