STARKVILLE, Miss. – On the night she was honored along with fellow seniors Morganne Grimes, CJ Winship and Sasha Vrany, Elisabeth Sullivan tied the Mississippi State single-season goals record as the Bulldogs fell short to Alabama 3-1 on a cold Friday at the MSU Soccer Field.
Sullivan struck her 15th goal of the season in the 55th minute to tie the all-time mark held by Amy Van Zandt since 2001. She adds the newest honor after shattering the career marks for goals, points, game-winning assists and multiple-goal games during her stellar MSU swan song.
Sullivan’s goal sparked an offensive flurry after the teams played to a 0-0 draw in the opening 45 minutes.
Shannen Jainudeen took a pass from Starkville native Tiffany Huddleston and placed a service past the Alabama defense. Sullivan ran onto the serve and chipped a ball over Alabama goalkeeper Emily Rusk that trickled over the line.
The lead for Mississippi State (3-13, 0-9 SEC) was short-lived, however, as Alabama (6-10, 4-5 SEC) equalized three minutes later on a Theresa Diederich shot to the far post.
Pia Rijsdijk put the Crimson Tide in front in the 61st minute as she shot one low past Winship off a cross from Katie Bourgeois.
Rijsdijk had a hand in all three Alabama goals, assisting on Diederich’s equalizer before finding Kendall Khanna for the Tide’s final goal in the 85th minute.
“I was proud of the way our team came out and competed tonight. I thought we played with a lot of heart for our seniors. Unfortunately, Alabama capitalized on their chances and we weren’t able to,” second-year head coach Aaron Gordon said. “It was great to see Elisabeth Sullivan tie the school’s season goals record on her Senior Night. I thought Morganne and CJ battled hard, and Sasha Vrany really played well considering she hasn’t been able to play much this season.”
Winship stopped eight shots in the contest, including five in the second half to give Mississippi State a chance to equalize.
Freshman Annebel ten Broeke nearly had the tying goal with 11:20 to play, but her attempt from the right side carried inches left of the far post.
Four minutes later, Sullivan tried to put one inside the far post, but Rusk tipped the opportunity wide for one of her four saves in the game.
The Bulldogs were out-shot in the contest 14-12, with Alabama taking an 11-5 edge in on-goal chances.Mississippi State wraps the home slate Sunday, challenging No. 13 South Carolina in a 1 p.m. kickoff. Admission to all MSU home soccer matches is free.