Newcomers Heydari, Vrany Lead MSU To 2-1 Win In Season Opener
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Honeye Heydari and Sasha Vrany scored their first goals as Bulldogs in the opening half, and the defense turned in a stellar performance as Mississippi State defeated Southeastern Louisiana 2-1 in Friday night's 2012 opener.
Neil Macdonald's squad dominated possession of the ball, racking up 34 shots on the night in front of a crowd of 873, the second-largest in program history. The attendance rates second only to the Dawgs' 2010 win against Ole Miss.
"First, I want to thank our great fans for coming out and supporting us tonight," Macdonald said. "I thought we dominated the game. We were very aggressive winning the first and second balls, and we did a good job creating a lot of scoring chances."
Neither team was able to put together any offense for the first half of the opening stanza, but the Bulldogs took the advantage to halftime thanks to a pair of stellar goals from newcomers.
Heydari scored State's first goal of the season in the 23rd minute. The Jackson, Tenn., native took an errant pass from the SELA back line and fired a shot past the goalie.
The Lady Lions nearly had the equalizer in the 28th minute. Kayla Vera hit a cross from the end line, and the ball deflected off Skylar Rosson's hands. Just as it appeared to be heading across the line, Shannen Jainudeen cleared it away from net.
Vrany scored what would prove to be the decisive goal in the 35th minute. Freshman Shelby Jordan tapped a pass to fellow rookie Mary Kathryn Taylor on the right wing. Taylor, a Pace, Fla., native, fired a cross into the six-yard box that the junior Vrany headed into the right side of the net to put State ahead 2-0.
"I thought Honeye had a great game. Her goal was brilliant, and she really did a nice job moving off the ball," Macdonald said. "Sasha and Mary Kathryn came in and really made a big impact for us. Mary Kathryn was fantastic playing wide right, and she made a beautiful service to Sasha for one of the best goals you will see all year."
The veteran SELA squad managed to strike with just under four minutes left before halftime. The Lady Lions worked a ball in front of net, and Kelsey Salcido connected with Maiya Cooper for an open opportunity that she lined past a diving Skylar Rosson.
MSU didn't let off the gas coming out of the intermission. Within the first three minutes of the final 45 minutes, Heydari, Elisabeth Sullivan and Jordan each fired shots that tested SELA keeper Lacey Bockhaus.
Bockhaus faced 13 Bulldog attempts, making 11 stops in the match.
Sullivan, State's points leader last season, had another shot stopped in the 53rd minute. Ten minutes later, MSU sent a pass into the box. Taylor out-jumped her defender and delivered a header on target that Bockhaus managed to turn back.
Heydari nearly had her second goal of the night 10 minutes into the second half. Lauren Morgan sent a diagonal pass over the top of the defense to Dana Forbes. Forbes crossed the ball across goal to Heydari, but her shot carried just right of the far post.
Rosson made her lone save of the night in the 85th minute, but it was a big one as she corralled an equalizing opportunity from Casey Peacock. That stop came moments after a ball knocked loose from Rosson was cleared away from the empty net by the Bulldog defense.
The Bulldogs return to action next weekend, hosting the Bulldog Classic Friday and Sunday. State challenges UT Martin at 7 p.m. Friday before closing the weekend with a 2 p.m. contest against South Alabama on Sunday.
SE Louisiana (0-1-0) vs. Mississippi State (1-0-0)
Date: Aug 17, 2012 Attendance: 873
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
SE Louisiana........ 1 0 - 1
Mississippi State... 2 0 - 2
1. 22:47 MSU Honeye Heydari (1) (unassisted) - Picks up loose ball in the box and passes by the keeper.
3. 41:28 SLU Cooper, Maiya (1) (Salcido, Kelsey) - Shot from top of the box into the bottom corner
Shots: SE Louisiana 3, Mississippi State 34
Saves: SE Louisiana 11 (Bockhaus, Lacey 11), Mississippi State 2
(Skylar Rosson 1; TEAM 1)