Soccer Bulldogs Nip Alabama, 2-1

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ­ Kristin Peterson's goal off a set piece in the 81st minute of play helped complete a two-goal comeback for visiting Mississippi State as the Bulldogs negated a 1-0 halftime deficit with a pair of second half scores to thwart homestanding Alabama, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at the Alabama Soccer Complex.

The win helped snap a three-game winless skid for the Bulldogs (5-6-3, 2-3-1 SEC) in its series with the Crimson Tide (6-8-0, 2-4-0) as the Maroon and White captured its first victory over UA since the 2000 season. The victory also extended State's unbeaten streak in Tuscaloosa out to three games, while also snapping Alabama's short winning streak at a pair of outings.

With the win, State vaulted itself up to third in the SEC West race after winless weekends by Ole Miss and LSU. The Bulldogs currently stand seventh overall in the SEC ­ just three points (one win) shy of a third-place tie with Florida and Kentucky.

"I thought we played extremely well today in difficult conditions," said MState head coach Neil Macdonald. "I think it came down to us creating more opportunities today than Alabama. I thought that we deserved the victory today over the course of the 90 minutes. We worked hard for everything we got. This is a huge victory for us."

Although trading fouls for much of the opening half of play, both teams managed quality scoring chances along the way. After trading a pair of shots through 15 minutes of play, Alabama nearly got on the board in the 18th minute, but could not save a through ball from going over the endline that would have put the Crimson Tide up a goal. However, the Tide made good on a scoring chance in the 15th minute when, after wet conditions reaked havoc on a failed clearance by the Maroon and White, UA took advantage of the miscue.

Alabama's Katie French collected the loose ball and found Kyle Boyd with a pass to the far post to which Boyd finished with a header in traffic. The goal was the lone score of the first half and the Bulldogs went into intermission trailing 1-0, despite a 7-7 equality in the shots column.

Mississippi State would exit the halftime gates with a vengeance, however, firing off the first four shots of the period and sending the hosts to their heels to stop the momentum. A pair of headers by Jennifer Turpin and Heather Ammann in the first eight minutes of play barely sailed wide of the UA goal and a third by April Berry in the 59th minute found the waiting hands of Crimson Tide goalkeeper Laura Lowman.

MSU would net the Equalizer a short time later, however, as Ngum Suh dished off a pass to freshman Jessica Davis who dribbled a few yards into open space before ripping a 25-yard shot past Lowman and into the back of the Crimson and White net. A fury of soccer action would follow before State tallied its eighth corner kick of the outing and made good when Sara Moore hit a service to the near post that found its way through an Alabama defender and into the net.

UA would get a pair of slight chances down the stretch against a MSU defense that was up on its game, but the only edge-of-the-seat chance came when Emily Pitek blindly hit a shot that caught Stephanie Dallas off her line. Dallas would recover, however, getting a piece of the shot that would eventually find nothing but the woodwork.

Mississippi State will return to action this weekend when the Maroon and White close out a four-game road trip with its longest haul of the campaign. The Bulldogs will visit No. 11 Florida (9-3-2, 3-2-1) on Friday evening at 7 p.m. before embarking on a road date at South Carolina (6-7-2, 0-4-2) on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Both games can be followed via a live stats link at the official Internet home for MSU athletics,

At Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Alabama Soccer Complex)

ALABAMA 1 0 - 1

30:49 ALA Kylie Boyd (Katie French)
60:02 MSU Jessica Davis (Ngum Suh)
80:25 MSU Kristin Peterson (Sara Moore)

Shots: MSU 13 (Parker 3), ALA 14 (DeLisle 6). Shots On Goal: MSU 7 (Seven Players), ALA 7 (Morrill, Pitek 2). Saves: MSU 6 (Dallas 4), ALA 5 (Lowman). Corner Kicks: MSU 8, ALA 7. Fouls: MSU 16, ALA 15. Cautions And Ejections: None. Offsides: MSU 0, ALA 3. Att. ­ 205.

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