Simmons' Golden Goal Carries MSU Past USM For Seventh-Straight Win
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Jasmine Simmons scored the golden goal in the 98th minute as Mississippi State wrapped a perfect non-conference slate with a 1-0 overtime win against Southern Mississippi Sunday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
Morganne Grimes claimed possession of the ball on the back line. She sent a diagonal ball over the USM defense to sophomore Dana Forbes.
Forbes, two days removed from her first-career goal, dribbled down the right side and served a ball across the face of the goal to Simmons for the one-timer into the back of the net.
"Morganne played a great ball into Dana, and she took off. I tried to get into the box, and Dana played a cross and I finished," Simmons said.
The Dawgs improved to 7-0, the most consecutive wins to open the year since the 2009 squad claimed eight-straight wins to begin the season.
After being out-shot 6-4 in the opening half, MSU dominated offensive possession the rest of the way, out-firing the Golden Eagles 19-5.
"Southern was excellent tonight. They had a great plan and really frustrated us most of the evening," Bulldog head coach Neil Macdonald said. "I thought we were a little sub-par in our attacking, but we persevered and fought with them the whole way. Our seniors came up big. Madison McKee really changed the game when she went in, and Jasmine grabbing the winner was great."
Senior Skylar Rosson was tested four times by the USM attack, but the Edmond, Okla., native was up to the challenge as she thwarted every challenge to post the team's fifth-straight shutout, a new school record.
Rosson pitched the 11th solo clean sheet of her career, tying Taryn Holland for the school record.
USM goalie Lindsey Schwaner stopped seven shots in the contest as the Golden Eagles fell to 2-3-1 on the year.
It was not an easy challenge against a determined Southern Mississippi squad.
The Golden Eagles threatened in the 12th minute on a shot by USM points leader Danica Roberts that was saved by Rosson.
State countered and found Elisabeth Sullivan on the left wing. Sullivan fired a ball toward the far post, but her attempt curved wide of target.
USM had another chance in the 21st, but Rosson kept the match scoreless with a nice save on Missy Wentz's shot. The Golden Eagles got behind the MSU defense moments later, but Chelsea Cruthirds' sliding attempt on the cross sailed wide of the post.
Sullivan found her own breakaway opportunity in the half's final ticks. She fired a shot from just inside the 18-yard box, but USM goalie Lindsay Schwaner made the save to send the scoreless tie to halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half pressing hard for the go-ahead goal. SEC Freshman of the Week Honeye Heydari weaved through defenders in the 56th minute, but she was unable to get enough angle on the shot to carry it past Schwaner.
The Golden Eagles countered two minutes later and created a breakaway opportunity with Brook Hendrix. Hendrix dribbled down the middle of the pitch at Rosson, but the Bulldog goalie made a diving stop on the 1-v-1 attempt to keep the match tied 0-0.
Southern Miss nearly clinched the win on a corner kick with just under two minutes remaining. Shelbi Moeller's headed Wentz's service toward the top shelf, but the ball carried over Rosson's out-stretched hand and just over the crossbar.Mississippi State hits the road for the first time as it opens SEC play at South Carolina and Kentucky. The Bulldogs venture to Columbia Friday for a 6 p.m. CT kick against the Gamecocks. The team then travels to Lexington to meet the Wildcats in a noon CT opening whistle on Sunday.