Soccer Bulldogs Defeated by UTEP, 3-1

EL PASO, Texas - Homestanding UTEP scored three second half goals, including two in the game's final seven minutes, to negate a halftime lead by Mississippi State and clinch the Sun City Invitational title with a 3-1 victory over the Maroon and White Saturday afternoon at University Field on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso.

The Bulldogs were outshot in both halves, including a 14-5 shot disparity in the second half, while outfouling the Miners (7-0-0) by a 22-11 count. The final foul tally marked the fourth consecutive home game that the Miners have been outdone by 12 or more infractions. State also incurred three cautions against UTEP as well.

Emily Meyers posted a career high 15 saves for the Bulldogs (0-2-2) on 18 shots on goal by UTEP (7-0-0). The tally was one shy of a school record save total (16) turned in by Kirstin Olson on Sept. 27, 1998, at Alabama.

"Obviously, we need to do a better job of preparing ourselves for high quality opponents like this," said Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald. "When we are battling adversity, as well as our opponent, we need to keep our composure and play our game. We didn't do that today and the final stats told the whole story. Hopefully, we can put this game behind us and come in focused tomorrow against Sacramento State."

State wasted little time in lighting up the east end scoreboard, using a pair of transition plays to put UTEP on their heels before Sara Moore found a streaking Betty Ann Casey for paydirt on a scorcher to the far post in the 11th minute of play. UTEP got a quality chance to score nearly 10 minutes later, but Meyers was up to the task, redirecting a header shot by Kia Sams in the 21st minute over the crossbar and out of danger.

The Miners squandered a pair of scoring opportunities midway through the opening stanza, the first of which came when Brandi Aston and Angie Kleinfelder found themselves in a 2-on-1 opportunity before Kleinfelder passed the ball at the last minute to an offsides Aston that killed the chance. Aston, again, found herself wide open inside the penalty area in the 41st minute, but badly shanked a point-blank shot wide left to keep the Miners off the board.

UTEP needed just more than six minutes of the second half clock to knot the score back up, using defensive miscues and miscommunication by the Bulldogs in the penalty area to get a goal from Cara Nordin among the confusion. Aston scored the first of her two goals and gave UTEP the lead at the 83:17 mark when a Kaletia Roberts through pass gave the forward a 1-on-1 opportunity with Meyers. Just 58 seconds later, the Miners added an insurance goal when Aston got ahold of a loose ball and fired a shot past Meyers that sparked UTEP head coach Kevin Cross into a victory dance on the near sideline that extended on to the field of play.

Mississippi State will return to action on Sunday when the Bulldogs take on Sacramento State (2-3-0) in the final game of the Sun City Invitational at University Field at noon MST. Following this weekend's action in the Sun City, Mississippi State will return to action next weekend when the Bulldogs travel north for a Friday evening tilt at regional foe Memphis, before returning to Starkville on Sept. 18 for a home date with Charlotte at 1 p.m.

At El Paso, Texas (University Field)

Mississippi State 1 0 - 1
UTEP 0 3 - 3

10:43 MSU Betty Ann Casey (Sara Moore)
51:36 UTEP Cara Nordin (Angie Kleinfelder)
83:17 UTEP Brandi Aston (Kaletia Roberts)
84:15 UTEP Brandi Aston (Cara Nordin)
Shots: MSU 9 (Casey 4), UTEP 24 (Aston 9).
Shots On Goal: MSU 5 (Casey 4), UTEP 18 (Aston, Nordin 5).
Saves: MSU 15 (Meyers), UTEP 4 (Popoff).
Corner Kicks: MSU 0, UTEP 9.
Fouls: MSU 22, UTEP 11.
Offsides: MSU 3, UTEP 5.
Cautions And Ejections: Jessica Davis (MSU), 12:12; Marlyce Stein (MSU), 56:55; Kleinfelder (UTEP), 63:02; Kevyn Shelledy (MSU), 81:48; Kristin Wernimont (UTEP), 86:27.
Att. * 240.

Mississippi State: Emily Meyers (GK), Mary Kate Ayers (D), Sara Moore (M), Heather Ammann (D), Meredith Jacobson (M), Jessica Davis (D), Treena Ferguson (F), Marlyce Stein (M), Kevyn Shelledy (M), Betty Ann Casey (F), Bethany Frazier (D).
Reserves: Heidi Ondra, Caitlin Gallagher, Anna Goblirsch, Meghan Odom, Courtney Benefield, Ashlee Drake, Mariclaire Fancher.

UTEP: Brittany Popoff (GK), Susie Quezada (D), Ashleigh Decker (D), Brandi Aston (F), Cara Nordin (M), Kelli Yeamans (D), Leslie Platz (M), Kristin Wernimont (F), Kia Sams (M), Kaletia Roberts (M), Melissa Abraham (M).
Reserves: Cortney Casey, Lauren Pierce, Danielle Zarret, Heather Boakye, Angie Kleinfelder.

Mississippi State: Casey 4, Moore 3, Jacobson 1, Stein 1.
UTEP: Aston 9, Nordin 5, Abraham 3, Decker 2, Roberts 2, Kleinfelder 2, Sams 1.

Emily Meyers (MSU), 90:00, 15 Saves, 3 Goals;
Brittany Popoff (UTEP), 90:00, 4 Saves, 1 Goal.

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