Sullivan Scores Twice As Bulldogs Rally To Defeat UT Martin
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Elisabeth Sullivan scored a career-best two goals, and freshman Honeye Heydari added her second in as many matches as the Mississippi State soccer team rallied in the second half to down UT Martin 3-2 in the Bulldog Classic at the MSU Soccer Field.
Sullivan gave MSU a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute. After UT Martin equalized in the 79th, she struck the game-winner a minute later.
"It was amazing. We never gave up, and we kept pushing through," Sullivan said of her two-goal effort.
Heydari assisted State's second goal, giving her three points on the night. In her first two college matches, the Jackson, Tenn., native has five points on two goals and an assist.
"Honeye and Elisabeth were outstanding in the second half. We talked at halftime about giving quality balls to Honeye's feet and everyone else playing off her," Neil Macdonald said. "In the first half we knocked the long ball, but Honeye is much better with the ball at her feet. That was one of the major factors that changed the pace of the game in the second half."
State improved to 2-0 with the win, and advances to Sunday's championship game against South Alabama at 2 p.m. The first 50 fans to that game receive free sandwiches from Hardee's.
"We had another fantastic crowd tonight. We really thank our fans for coming out, and we need them back out here Sunday," Neil Macdonald said. "We really want to win the Bulldog Classic for our fans, so we need a big crowd out here supporting us."
The Skyhawks struck first as, 11 minutes in, Kendyl Wilson lined a cross that deflected off MSU goalie Skylar Rosson, bounced off the underside of the crossbar and went into the goal.
Heydari and senior Zehra Syed had equalizing opportunities, but the two were unable to beat UTM keeper Mariah Klenke as the Skyhawks took the 1-0 advantage to halftime.
"We were caught in the first half," Macdonald said. "We hadn't played a game at that speed since the SEC last season. They played Vanderbilt last weekend, so they were used to a faster speed of play. I think we took too long to adjust to the speed of play tonight, but by the second half we started to dictate the tempo."
Mississippi State came out re-energized in the second half. Three minutes into the stanza, Amy Hoover found Heydari down the left side. The Jackson, Tenn., native dribbled toward goal and hit a shot that beat Klenke to the top shelf for the tying score.
Sullivan gave the Dawgs the lead in the 66th minute. Dana Forbes hit a pass to Heydari, who then flicked a pass to Sullivan. The Memphis native dribbled by her defender and slotted a ball by into the back of the net.
The Skyhawks wouldn't go away though. In the 79th minute, Hannah McGowen worked down the right side of the field and served a ball into the box that Saphyr Coombs-James headed past Rosson.
Mississippi State kept applying the pressure, though, and struck the winner a minute later. Syed delivered a pass through the defense to Sullivan. The junior had her initial chance blocked by Klenke, but she stayed with the play and tapped home the rebound to seal the win.
UT Martin out-shot MSU 12-11, but the Dawgs were the more-accurate side, putting six attempts on target.
Rosson saved a pair of shots, while Klenke turned away three Bulldog chances in the contest.
UT Martin (0-2-0) vs. Mississippi State (2-0-0)
Date: Aug 24, 2012 Attendance: 653
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UT Martin........... 1 1 - 2
Mississippi State... 0 3 - 3
1. 10:20 UTM Kendyl Wilson (Melisa Erturk) - Cross deflects off keeper into goal
4. 78:49 UTM Saphyr Coombs-James (Hannah Mcgowen) - Cross from right side headed in
Shots: UT Martin 12, Mississippi State 11
Saves: UT Martin 3 (Mariah Klenke 3), Mississippi State 2 (SkylarRosson 2)