MSU Soccer Defeats Rice 2-1

The number "one" has signaled both happiness and frustration thus far in the early season of the Mississippi State women's soccer team. Each victory and loss for the team has been by one point. That number was a welcomed sight Sunday as the Lady Bulldogs (3-3-0) downed the Rice Owls (3-2-1) 2-1 after Katelyn Graben's goal three minutes, 16 seconds into in the second overtime of the match.

Graben was active throughout the abbreviated second overtime. She fought for the ball on several occasions during the period and had sent a shot toward the net, which missed wide left, earlier in the period before finally scoring the team's game-winning goal. The assist to the goal went to Bethany Frazier, which was her second assist of the match. Frazier dumped off a pass to Graben, who got past a defender and fired a shot past the netkeeper.

Mississippi State women's soccer head coach Neil Macdonald was pleased with Graben's performance throughout the game.

"I thought she played very well," he said. "She played on the shoulder of the defenders all game and was trying to get in behind them. She had a couple of chances early on that could've easily gone in but she relaxed and got the game-winning goal."

The Owls set the pace early in the match with a goal by Kate Edwards only two minutes into the match. The Conference USA foes took 11 shots in the first half and attempted to increase their lead.

The Lady Bulldogs made some adjustments at halftime in an attempt to gain more time of possession and to tie the game.

"I told them at halftime that they needed to switch the field, and they did that," Macdonald said.

The adjustments that the team made became beneficial as the second half progressed. With only seven minutes left in the half, Bethany Frazier crossed a shot from 30 yards away and Jessica Davis headed the ball into the net to tie the match at one.

Davis' goal came during a time in the match where the Lady Bulldogs dominated the time of possession, which played a part in the fatigue of the Owls.

"We just wore them down during the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game," Macdonald said. "The goal during the second half gave us the momentum that we needed for the overtimes as well."

The Lady Bulldogs will return to the field Friday at 7:00 p.m. in a game against the University of North Florida (1-3-1).

Brent Wilburn, a sports reporter for the MSU student newspaper The Reflector, is the soccer beat writer for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network.

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