"It's nice to get the monkey off our back," said Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald. "I thought we played well and put in 90 minutes of hard work. We could have finished a couple other chances and made things easier on ourselves but, overall, I was happy with our performance.
It's been a tough month for us. There were some games that we could have won, but we just didn't quite get there. It's always nice to get that first one."
Although deadlocked at three shots at the intermission, neither team got a realistic chance to score in the opening half of play. The Bulldogs got, perhaps, the best look in the 34th minute of play when they strung together a trio of passes before finally finding Meghan Odom in space, but Odom's shot sailed just high of the crossbar to keep the score at a deadlock.
State needed just two minutes of the second half clock to break the deadlock when Heidi Ondra found rookie Mariclaire Fancher down the near sideline on a breakaway. Fancher dribbled into space and hit a service that found the foot of Casey in the penalty area for a one-timer at the 47:04 mark. Stein nearly stretched the lead out to a pair 11 minutes later, but her point-blank shot went well high of the Charlotte goal. After a scuffle in transition two minutes later, Casey found a wide open Stein again and, this time, the freshman made good on the opportunity, skipping a shot past Charlotte netminder Ariel Baniowski for the two-goal cushion.
Although trading more fouls than offensive opportunities over the remainder of the period, Charlotte managed to spoil goalkeeper Emily Meyers' seventh career shutout on a corner kick. With a service from Lindsay Beam, Nikki Dumencich skipped a ball off the top of her head to a waiting Rachel Baer, who punched a ball past Meyers for the final.
Mississippi State will return to action this weekend when the Bulldogs begin a four-game road trip that will kick off the Southeastern Conference portion of its 2005 schedule. The Maroon and White will first visit Knoxville, Tenn., for a 7 p.m. EST clash with defending SEC Champion Tennessee on Friday, before traveling to Athens, Ga., for a 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon clash with Georgia. Both games can be followed via a live stats link at the official Internet home for the Mississippi State athletic department, www.MStateAthletics.com.
At Starkville, Miss. (MSU Soccer Field)
Charlotte 0 1 - 1
Mississippi State 0 2 - 2
47:04 MSU Betty Ann Casey (Mariclaire Fancher; Heidi Ondra)
59:39 MSU Marlyce Stein (Betty Ann Casey)
88:39 UNCC Rachel Baer (Lindsey Beam; Nikki Dumencich)
Shots: UNCC 11 (Bullington 4), MSU 12 (Stein 4).
Shots On Goal: UNCC 8 (Bullington 3), MSU 6 (Stein 3).
Saves: UNCC 4 (Baniowski), MSU 7 (Meyers).
Corner Kicks: UNCC 7, MSU 3.
Fouls: UNCC 12, MSU 17.
Offsides: UNCC 5, MSU 0.
Cautions And Ejections: Betty Ann Casey (MSU), 81:03.
Att. * 308.