Soccer Bulldogs Ruffle Gamecocks in Overtime, 3-2

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sophomore Sara Moore's Golden Goal just less than two minutes into the first sudden death overtime period helped complete a two-goal comeback effort for visiting Mississippi State as the Bulldogs used a strong second half surge to rattle host South Carolina in overtime, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia, S.C.

Junior Betty Ann Casey logged the game-tying goal and added the gamewinning assist early in the first extra period to help pace a daunting offensive attack for the Bulldogs (6-7-3, 3-4-1 SEC), while Moore added her second Golden Goal of the campaign and the third gamewinning score of her career. Ashley Williams punched in her seventh goal of the season to pace the Gamecocks (6-9-2, 0-6-2).

Casey's goal was the first by an MSU forward since a Sept. 19 tie with Wisconsin-Milwaukee in which her and fellow striker Heidi Ondra each tallied scores. State's extra time contest was its sixth of the season, matching an MSU single season record for overtime contests initially set by the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad. The win improved the Maroon and White's record in overtime contests out to 8-3-8 in such games since the beginning of the 2001 season.

With the win, State also improved its record in Sunday outings this season to 4-1-2 with its lone loss coming on a 4-1 setback to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 12. Down 4-3 in the series heading into Columbia, State also evened up its series with the Gamecocks by posting its third triumph in the last four meetings.

"I was very proud of the way that we fought back today," said Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald. "This game today truly showed the character of this club. We came out with a purpose in the second half and it allowed us to get back into it."

Despite South Carolina having much of the play in the opening 15 minutes of the contest, it would be Mississippi State that would draw first blood on the shoulders of a counterattack. Following a turnover by the Garnet and Black near midfield, Ngum Suh found space to work with down the near sideline before hitting a clean pass across the top of the penalty area to Kristin Peterson who punched in her third goal of the season past a diving Lindsay Thorstenson.

The lead would stand for just less than 11 minutes, however, as South Carolina used a pair of defensive miscues by the Bulldogs to forge a lead of its own. Jessi Swaim made good on an indirect kick in the 27th minute, but relied on a flick-on from Sarah Lentz that found its way into the back of the MSU net for the Equalizer. The Gamecocks would strike again 45 seconds later when, after a collision in the penalty area by a pair of MSU defenders, Williams collected the loose ball and hit a clean shot to the near post to give the hosts a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission.

After allowing USC to have three of the first four shots of the second period, MSU would finally find its rhythm and showcased it with the next five shots of the stanza, including Karen Sandrik's 30-yard direct kick that Thorstenson managed to put a hand on. Despite watching South Carolina keep fresh legs on the field, as well as milk the clock, with 15 subsitutions in the period, the Bulldogs controlled a majority of final 15 minutes of regulation. The Maroon and White nearly found its Equalizer with successive six-yard blasts with 8:15 remaining, but both Brandi Parker and Moore's chances were saved by USC defenders standing inches in front of the touch line.

State would get its game-tying goal with 2:20 remaining, however, when Casey took hold of a rebound off a Meghan Odom shot and made good on the put back to send the game into overtime.

Mississippi State will return to action on Friday when the Bulldogs return home to host SEC Eastern Division foe Vanderbilt (4-6-4, 3-2-3) in a 7 p.m. contest at the Mississippi State Soccer Field. Admission to all 2004 MSU Soccer home games is free.

At Columbia, S.C. (Eugene E. Stone III Stadium)


15:50 MSU Kristin Peterson (Ngum Suh)
26:40 USC Sarah Lentz (Jessi Swaim)
27:25 USC Ashley Williams (Jackie Welch)
87:40 MSU Betty Ann Casey (Meghan Odom)
91:51 MSU Sara Moore (Betty Ann Casey)

Shots: MSU 12 (Moore, Parker 3), USC 13 (Cobbs). Shots On Goal: MSU 10 (Parker, Moore, Casey 2), USC 6 (Lentz, Williams 2). Saves: MSU 4 (Meyers), USC 7 (Thorstenson 5). Corner Kicks: MSU 4, USC 3. Fouls: MSU 7, USC 17. Cautions And Ejections: MSU - Ammann (43:45). USC ­ Swaim (23:08), Randazzo (23:08), Markham (90:00). Offsides: MSU 0, USC 3. Att. ­ 267.

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