MSU Blanks South Alabama 5-0, Wins Bulldog Classic
Amy Hoover scored twice, her first multiple-goal effort, and Elisabeth Sullivan added her third goal of the weekend to go along with scores from freshman Halee Heltsley and senior Madison McKee.
Sullivan was named Bulldog Classic MVP after tallying seven points on three goals and an assist in the two matches. Freshman Honeye Heydari, Hoover, and junior Morganne Grimes joined her on the all-tournament team.
"(Sullivan) is just an outstanding wide player. She can beat players 1-v-1, she can combine with others, and she is dangerous in front of goal. I think she is sometimes faster with the ball at her feet. She had two great performances this weekend," Macdonald said.
"It felt amazing to get back in the groove and help the team win," Sullivan said. "I'm really excited and honored to be named the MVP. The entire team worked really hard and never gave up."
Heydari added two assists Sunday to go along with a goal and an assist in Friday night's 3-2 win against UT Martin. Grimes not only helped the Dawgs pitch a shutout on Sunday, but she also tallied a career-best two assists in the contest.
Mississippi State won the tournament for the second-straight year and improved to 3-0 on the season, the best start since the 2009 squad began the year with a school-record eight consecutive wins.
Mississippi State, which converted five of eight on-goal chances Sunday, has scored 10 goals through the season's first three games, the most in that span since the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad netted 11.
The Bulldogs converted both of their on-goal chances in the first half, with Hoover and Heltsley giving State a 2-0 halftime advantage.
"I was really pleased with the performance from start to finish. We moved the ball well, and it got better as the game went along," Macdonald said. "There were some very good individual performances, but the foundation of what we do is through the team moving the ball around and working for one another. As a coach, I am delighted to see our team perform like that."
Hoover put MSU in front 1-0 with her first goal of the season in the 23rd minute. Sullivan worked the left wing and connected with her at the near post. The Brookhaven native chipped the shot over USA goalie Lauren Arnold to put the Dawgs in front.
"My team worked really hard to get the ball toward the goal, and I was there to finish," Hoover said.
With 16 seconds remaining in the first half, Heltsley gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead as she took a Grimes pass and fired it into the back of the net for her first collegiate goal.
Mississippi State wasted no time in adding to the lead in the second half, as Hoover netted her second goal of the afternoon in the 52nd minute. Heydari's 1-v-1 opportunity was saved by Arnold, but Hoover picked up the rebound and put the ball into the top shelf.
"I'm so happy to see Amy put together such a dominating performance. I thought she was the best player in the park today," Macdonald said. "Her ability to win the ball in the middle and her pressing of the ball were outstanding, and she had a couple of really nice goals."
Sullivan put State in front 4-0 14 minutes later. Heydari found Sullivan streaking down the left wing, and the Memphis native chipped a shot over reserve Jaguar keeper Melissa Drish into the far post.
The Bulldogs' final goal came in the 75th minute off a Grimes pass over the top of the South Alabama defense that found McKee. The Clinton native dribbled around Drish and tapped home State's final goal of the afternoon.
Senior Skylar Rosson made four saves on the afternoon as she pitched her first shutout of the season. The Edmond, Okla., native now has eight shutouts for her career, tying her for second all-time with Sarah Roberts (1997-98).
After being out-shot by one in the opening 45 minutes, Mississippi State fired nine shots in the final half to take a 14-11 advantage.
Arnold and Drish made a save each as the Jaguars fell to 2-2-0 on the year.
The Bulldogs hit the road for the first time next weekend, venturing to Hattiesburg for the Southern Miss Soccer Invitational. MSU faces Georgia State at 1:30 p.m. Friday before closing the weekend against Louisiana-Monroe in an 11:30 a.m. first kick.
South Alabama (2-2-0) vs. Mississippi State (3-0-0)
Date: Aug 26, 2012 Attendance: 402
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
South Alabama....... 0 0 - 0
Mississippi State... 2 3 - 5
1. 22:12 MSU Amy Hoover (1) (Elisabeth Sullivan) - Pass through defense chips over sliding keeper
2. 44:44 MSU Halee Heltsley (1) (Morganne Grimes) - Pass through defense shoots past keeper 1v1
3. 51:24 MSU Amy Hoover (2) (Honeye Heydari) - Rebound from keeper shot top shelf
4. 65:14 MSU Elisabeth Sullivan (3) (Honeye Heydari) - Passed through defense top shelf over keeper
5. 74:02 MSU Madison McKee (1) (Morganne Grimes) - Passed through defense dribbles around keeper 1v1
Shots: South Alabama 11, Mississippi State 14
Saves: South Alabama 3 (Lauren Arnold 1; Melissa Drish 1; TEAM 1),
Mississippi State 4 (Skylar Rosson 4)