STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State battled No. 13 South Carolina to the wire in its home finale, but a 70th-minute goal proved the difference as the Gamecocks escaped Starkville with a 1-0 win at the MSU Soccer Field.
Mississippi State had chances, but came up short with the breakthrough opportunity against one of the nation’s top defenses. The loss dropped state to 3-14 overall, 0-10 in SEC play.
South Carolina improved to 14-2-2 overall, 7-2-1 in the league.
The best chance of the match for the Bulldogs fell to senior standout Elizabeth Sullivan. Sullivan, who tied the MSU single-season goals record with her 14th on Friday, sprinted onto a duo of flicks from the heads of Annebel ten Broeke and Shannon Jainudeen to narrowly fire her shot inches away from the far post.
The Bulldogs thought they had the breakthrough goal in the 30th minute as Jainudeen put one in the back of the net, but a foul negated the shot and kept the contest scoreless.
Sullivan’s near miss came minutes before the halftime whistle, and the two squads went to intermission tied 0-0.
Playing in front of the home fans for the final time, senior CJ Winship came up with five saves in the contest.
“We came out to play against one of the best teams in the SEC, and the game could have gone either way. South Carolina is a good team, but we weren’t afraid and we took the fight to them,” Aaron Gordon said. “We didn’t come out with the result, but I really liked how our team came back off a tough game on Friday and competed hard.”
The Ridgeland, Miss., native showed great reflexes to hold the Gamecocks scoreless with a double save in the 60th minute. Winship dove to her left to save Danielle Au’s first shot, then quickly got to her feet to save the close range effort from the Gamecocks’ leading scorer, Raina Johnson.
Unfortunately for Winship and her teammates, South Carolina broke the deadlock in the 70th minute as Sophie Groff took a Coryn Bajema pass and placed her shot in the bottom right corner for her second goal of the season.
South Carolina out-shot the Bulldogs 15-6, including a 6-2 edge in on-goal chances.
State was unable to get either of its chances past Sabrina D’Angelo.Mississippi State wraps the 2013 slate Thursday night as it tries to maintain hold of the Magnolia Cup in Oxford against rival Ole Miss at 7 p.m.