TROY, Ala. - Mississippi State sophomore Jasmine Simmons scored the decisive goal and junior Kim Pettit added a late penalty kick as the Bulldog soccer team opened the Trojan Classic with a 2-0 win over host Troy Friday afternoon at the Trojan Soccer Complex.
Both teams fired nine shots, but State (3-1) was more accurate, putting five of its attempts on target compared to just two for the Trojans (1-2).
Simmons' game-winner came in the ninth minute as she broke through a host of Trojan defenders and fired a shot past Trojan goalkeeper Ashley Branham to give the Dawgs a 1-0 lead. The goal was the second of the season for the Oklahoma City native, moving her into the team's overall points lead with five.
"I didn't think we played our best today. We struggled at times over the course of the 90 minutes," Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald said. "Troy did a good job of pressuring, making it difficult for us to create opportunities. Jasmine's goal was outstanding, and we found a way to win, which is important. I was proud of the way out team grinded one out today."
Troy had an opportunity to net the equalizer in the 17th minute, but Ruth Sutcliffe's shot was stopped by sophomore goalkeeper Skylar Rosson. Rosson stopped two shots while claiming her second-straight shutout.
State countered and found sophomore Monica Alvarado on the attack. The Southlake, Texas, native raced past a defender, but Branham managed to make a diving save.
The Trojans missed another chance to tie the match with 2:58 left before the halftime whistle. Sutcliffe was fouled inside the box, but her penalty kick opportunity knocked off the crossbar and the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead to the half.
Just over a minute into the second half, MSU sophomore Rachel Wannek received an Elisabeth Sullivan pass on the left side of the box. The Ontario native turned right and fired on goal, but her ball was stopped by Branham, one of her three saves in the match.
Troy's best attempt on the net in the second half came with 12:40 left, but Mary Morris' shot from the left side of the field hit the cross bar and was cleared by the Bulldog defense.
State added the clinching goal with 2 seconds left in the match. A Trojan foul gave the Bulldogs a penalty kick, and Pettit converted for the first goal of her Mississippi State career.
The Dawgs, winners of 11-straight non-conference road matches, will try and win their third-straight tournament championship on Sunday when they face South Alabama at Noon.
ARLINGTON, Texas - Mississippi State extended its season-opening record to 5-0 Friday afternoon registering a straight-sets win (25-17, 25-18, 25-18) over UT-Pan American (1-4) in the opening round of the 2010 UTA Maverick Invitational.
Junior Caitlin Rance, one of four Texas natives on the MSU squad, registered her third career double-double and Bulldog senior libero Kayla Woodard State notched her 1,000th career dig in pacing MSU to its Friday win.
The Bulldogs conclude play at UTA's Texas Hall Saturday, taking on Louisiana Tech at 12:30 p.m. and tourney-host Texas Arlington in 7:30 p.m. finale.
"We were not very sharp and crisp today, but it was good to win our tournament opener," said second-year Bulldog volleyball head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "I'm proud of Kayla's play and reaching the 1,000-dig milestone. She has been so solid for us on defense. And Kellye (Jordan) did a solid all-around job replacing Faith Steinwedell in our lineup. She stepped in and helped us in so many areas today."
Rance finished with 11 kills and 12 digs for her third career double-double. Five of those kills came during the opening set when State gained the upper hand early. Sophomore Chanelle Baker put down three quick kills to get the Bulldogs rolling, and with her first kill of the match, Ashley Newsome put State ahead 6-2. Rance delivered five kills midway in the set as the Bulldogs built their lead out to seven at 17-10 en route to a 25-17 win.
The Broncs went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs for much of the second set, bolting to a 4-0 lead and building that advantage out to 11-7. State pulled even at 14-14 on freshman Iwa Belisario's service ace during a 5-0 run and out-pointed UTPA 10-4 down the stretch to take the set 25-18.
Freshman Dani McCree replaced injured regular Faith Steinwedell in the starting lineup, but junior Kellye Jordan came off the bench to claim the MSU spotlight. The Jasper, Ala., native registered five of her seven kills in the final set as the Bulldogs clinched the match with a 25-18 win. Jordan hit at team-best .462 clip and added five digs on the afternoon. Steinwedell left the opening set of MSU's final match in Starkville last weekend with what was later diagnosed as a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She is sidelined with a season-ending knee injury for the second time in her three collegiate seasons.
Setter Paris Perret, the current SEC Freshman of the Week, had 25 assists, two kills and and three assisted blocks.
With a match-high 18 digs, Woodard became the 12th Bulldog to reach the 1,000-dig mark in her career, raising her four-year total to 1,008. Senior Ashley Newsome backed a five-kill performance with a season-high seven total blocks, including two solo blocks that raised her career total to 56, tying for sixth-most in MSU volleyball history. She also climbed two places to eighth with 287 career total blocks.
Marci Logan and Ijanae Holman had nine kills each for UTPA.