Bulldogs Cool Off Red-Hot Rebels on Senior Night

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Bulldog soccer team, before a noisy 672 spectators, defeated the Ole Miss rivals, 1-0, on Senior Night to earn the Magnolia Cup trophy for the first time in the four years of its existence.<P> The win gives the Bulldogs an 8-8-3 overall record and a 5-5-1 SEC record.

Post-game Q&A with MSU head coach Neil Macdonald

What are your thoughts about the game?
"We matched up with them. Typically, we play a 4-4-2, or a 4-5, but we decided we were going with the system they play, a 3-5-2. We felt, athletically, we could match out well with them, and we did in every area of the field. Ole Miss is a very talented soccer team, but if you take away from them the time they have on the ball away with great pressure, then you can cause them problems. And we did that."

Has it been an emotionally week for the seniors?
"No doubt about it. They are an unbelievable group, so committed to the cause. They were outstanding tonight and they have been outstanding all season. You can see it right now, they are a lot of tears right now."

Are you still taking it one game at a time or are you looking ahead to next week (the SEC Tournament)?
"You have to take it one game at a time, that's the only way you can do it. We have put ourselves in a great situation with this win. If we get another win on Sunday I think we have an good chance at the national tournament, which would be phenomenal."

What did you think about the crowd tonight?
"It was outstanding. They made plenty of noise. I was delighted about that."

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sophomore Sara Moore's goal midway just more than 10 minutes into the second half of play proved to be just enough as the Mississippi State Soccer team used a resilient offensive attack and a bend-but-not break defense to thwart visiting Ole Miss on Senior Night, 1-0, and capture the traveling Magnolia Cup for the first time in the four-game history of the trophy.

Moore matched a school record with her fourth gamewinning goal of the season, while Emily Meyers recorded nine saves in tallying her fourth shutout of the season for the Bulldogs (8-8-3, 5-5-1 SEC). Heather Ammann produced her first point of the season on the first of two assists on the gamewinning score, with Meghan Odom picking up the second gamewinning pass. Junior forward Kelly Renie tallied four shots in a losing effort for the Rebels (8-9-2, 4-5-2).

The victory gave State its school record tying fifth SEC win of the season, matching a mark that was previously set by the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad. The win was also State's first against the Rebels since that season and Friday evening's result also snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for the Rebels that included a 0-0 tie at No. 23 Florida on October 17.

The win also marked State's second consecutive Senior Night victory after upsetting then-No. 6 Florida last season at the MSU Soccer Field. The Bulldogs also assured themselves of a winning home record having improved its home clip to 5-3-1 with one home game remaining. The Maroon and White also posted its second winning conference campaign in school lore.

Predicted to finish last overall in the conference standings by the member coaches in August, State wrapped up its conference slate with a second place finish in the SEC West. The Bulldogs will now represent the division as the No. 5 overall seed when the 2004 SEC Tournament begins next week at the Auburn Soccer Complex. The Bulldogs will battle fourth-seeded Vanderbilt (8-8-3, 5-2-4) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the final game of the opening round.

A fired up Bulldog squad moved play into its attacking third from the get-go, firing off three of the game's first four shots, including Ngum Suh's 10-yard blast in the ninth minute that Ole Miss netminder Ann Shelton left her feet to retrieve. With the game going back and forth for much of the next 20 minutes of play, the Rebels got their first quality chance in the 32nd minute of play, but Renie's shot from the top of the penalty area found the waiting hands of Meyers to keep the game at a deadlock.

The teams would trade blows for the remainder of the opening stanza and went into the intermission with the statistics showing the story of the game. Ole Miss held a 10-9 shot advantage at the break, but the squads were tied at four in the shots on goal column.

Although surrendering a pair of shots in the opening minutes of the second period, including Chrissy Strini's breakaway chance five minutes in that found its way just high of the MSU crossbar, State would get outstanding chances to take the lead. Ammann's 20-yard blast at the 52:04 mark would barely find the hands of Shelton and Odom's 10-yard scorcher just more than a minute later sailed just wide of the near post.

State would break the deadlock at the 55:38 mark, however, when Ammann served a ball to Odom at the top of the box to which Odom and, after a bit of razzle dazzle, Odom found the waiting Moore at the near post for the gamebreaking one-timer. The Rebels would find their chances down the stretch, but nothing could break the spirits, or the defensive wall, posed by the Maroon and White.

Ole Miss would get high quality shots in the game's final three minutes, but were left wanting by a very effective Meyers in the nets. Renie's 88th minute blast nearly trickled over the endline, but Meyers fumbled with the ball before getting a clean grasp on it. With 1:50 remaining, Meyers made quite possibly her biggest save of the game when she slapped Lindley Beckman's cannon shot out of danger for an ineffective Rebel corner kick.

Mississippi State will close out its 2004 regular season schedule on Sunday when the Bulldogs welcome Georgia State (7-6-5) to the MSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and admission to all 2004 Mississippi State Soccer home games is free.

At Starkville, Miss. (MSU Soccer Field)

OLE MISS 0 0 - 0

55:38 MSU Sara Moore (Heather Ammann, Meghan Odom)

Shots: UM 24 (Renie 5), MSU 17 (Casey 4). Shots On Goal: UM 10 (Renie 3), MSU 5 (Ammann 2). Saves: UM 4 (Shelton), MSU 10 (Meyers 9). Corner Kicks: UM 8, MSU 1. Fouls: UM 9, MSU 10. Cautions And Ejections: None. Offsides: UM 0, MSU 0. Att. ­ 672.

MSU Media Relations

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