MSU Soccer Loses 5-0 to Florida

After a 110 minute sensational effort in Friday night's game against No. 28 South Carolina, the noticeably fatigued Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs were defeated 5-0 Sunday by the Florida Lady Gators' furious array of goals.

The shots came early and often from the visiting Lady Gators, causing the Mississippi State squad to be on the defensive side of the ball for far too long. Florida launched nine shots during the first half, three of which found the net to give the Lady Gators a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

Another goal was added only seven minutes after intermission by senior forward Bianca Gibbs, who headed a cross pass from Shana Hudson into the goal to give the Lady Gators the 4-0 lead.

The physical Florida midfielders assisted in taking the time of possession statistic from the Mississippi State squad. The Lady Gators, most of whom were taller than the Lady Bulldogs, used their height to control the ball throughout the contest.

"Our midfield was really struggling," head coach Neil Macdonald said. "We weren't getting touch time, and they were getting too much time with the ball at their feet. If you give a talented team time on the ball, you're going to get torn up."

Though outmatched at times, the Lady Bulldog squad still pressed on in an attempt to avoid being shut-out on its home field.

The only two shots that were on goal during the match for the Mississippi State team were fired toward the goal by Treena Ferguson in the second half. The first of the two was arguably the best opportunity of the day for the home team.

Sophomore Katelyn Graben took a pass from a teammate and sprinted toward the goal. As she approached the goal, she was met by three Lady Gator defenders. Before they could trap her in the corner, Graben passed inside to Ferguson, who was alone inside the box. Ferguson lined up a shot and tried to put it in the goal. As the ball inched to the goal, Florida goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo deflected the shot out of bounds.

Macdonald expected a better performance coming into the match, but confessed that his team was simply outperformed by Florida.

"Overall, I was very disappointed in our performance," he said. "We got beat by a stronger, quicker and more athletic team. When you play against a team like Florida, you have to be on your A-game. And today we weren't."

The team will anticipate a better performance next weekend when it takes to the road to face two ranked teams. The Lady Bulldogs will travel to Athens, Ga., Friday at 6 p.m. to take on the No. 20 Georgia Lady Bulldogs. They will follow that up by traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., Sunday to face the No. 14 Tennessee Lady Volunteers at 1 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs will conclude their home slate on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. when they host the Kentucky Lady Wildcats.

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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