Bulldogs Turn Back MS Valley State in Finale

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Betty Ann Casey's goal in the 79th minute broke open a stout defensive struggle and helped Mississippi State stay perfect in regular season finales with a 1-0 victory over visiting Mississippi Valley State Sunday afternoon at the MSU Soccer Field.

The win put a close to the 2005 season for the Bulldogs (4-11-4) and upped the Maroon and White's record in season-ending games to an impressive 11-0. Mississippi Valley State (8-7-1) fell for the second consecutive game heading into the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament play on Thursday at Grambling State University.

Senior goalkeeper Emily Meyers posted her third shutout of the season and the seventh of her career behind an unforgiving Bulldog defense and pushed her school record save total to 135 with four stops against MVSU. Meyers eclipsed the previous MSU season record of 130 with five stops in a 1-1 tie at 23rd-ranked Ole Miss on Friday evening and closed out her two-year stint at goalkeeper with 222 career saves which ranks second on the Bulldogs' all-time charts.

Casey matched a career-best with her sixth goal of the season and took over sole possession of third on Mississippi State's scoring chart. Mary Kate Ayers posted the first collegiate point of her career by assisting on Casey's late goal. The win helped MState finish with a 4-3-2 clip at home on the campaign, marking its third consecutive season that it finished with a winning record in Starkville.

"I am very happy with the way we went out," said Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald. "We had a tough time getting shots to go where we wanted them to in the first half and were a bit unlucky on a couple of occasions, but we pulled it out and sent out seniors out with a win."

Although posting a 12-4 shot advantage in the opening half of play, the Bulldogs could not find a hole in the MVSU defense to hit the back of the net. State would get off six of the game's first seven shots before Valley got their best chance to score in the game on a 27-yard direct kick in the 20th minute. After Meyers proved up to the task of stopping an ensuing shot, State would go on the counter and create a myriad of chances for itself over the stanza's final 25 minutes but came up empty. The game would head into the break in a scoreless deadlock.

In a second half that mirrored the first half almost perfectly, the Bulldogs would post a 9-2 edge in the shot column but came away frustrated on a handful of occasions. MSU would tally the first six shots of the second period before allowing an MVSU chance, then scored on its seventh chance when an Ayers' pass ricocheted off the leg of a Delta Devilette defender to the right foot of Casey. The Coral Springs, Fla., native made a pair of nifty moves to find space in the MVSU defense, then blasted a shot to the far post past a diving Maria Del Guercio to take a lead it would not relinquish.

SCORING SUMMARY
At Starkville, Miss. (MSU Soccer Field)

Mississippi Valley State 0 0 - 0
Mississippi State 0 1 - 1

MSU – Casey (79)


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