Sullivan Scores Twice As MSU Falls to Vanderbilt
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Elisabeth Sullivan matched her career high with two goals as the Mississippi State soccer team fell 4-2 to Vanderbilt in Friday night's home SEC opener at the MSU Soccer Field.
The loss put Mississippi State at 7-2-2 overall, 0-2-1 in SEC play. Vanderbilt picked up its first league win of the season, improving to 1-0-2 in the conference and 4-3-3 overall.
Sullivan hit her sixth and seventh goals of the season, tying her for the eighth-most in MSU single-season history. Now with 18 career strikes, the Memphis native passed Shannon Walsh for fifth in the career record book.
"Offensively, Elisabeth was fantastic. The run on her first goal was amazing, and you're always going to get that with her," Neil Macdonald said.
Vanderbilt took a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes on goals from Brittney Thomas and Dana Schwartz, but Sullivan cut into the lead a minute later on a brilliant run that saw her slice around Commodore defenders and goalie Alexa Levick before putting the ball in the back of the empty net.
After Skylar Rosson made a pair of saves to keep MSU within striking distance, the Bulldogs had a chance to level the match in the 40th minute. State served a ball to the far post that found freshman Honeye Heydari, but her shot carried wide as Vandy took the 2-1 edge to halftime.
"I thought we made a lot of mental errors tonight. We made a lot of silly mistakes that I thought cost us the game. I felt like all four goals were avoidable. We have to be switched on in practice and make sure we understand what's going on," Macdonald said. "If we're going to be successful in the SEC, we need to do a better job of executing the game plan."
The Commodores increased the advantage to 3-1 in the 56th minute off a Kelsey Tillman goal from the top of the box, but Sullivan countered for the Bulldogs with her second goal of the night 10 minutes later.
Rosson came up with some stellar saves to keep MSU a goal away from tying, but Vanderbilt came through with the clinching goal in the 78th minute when Andie Lakin hit a corner kick that Gena Inbusch headed past Rosson.
The two teams fired 19 shots each. Mississippi State put six of its chances on frame, with Vandy's Levick making four saves.
Mississippi State returns to action Sunday as it hosts No. 23 Tennessee in a 1 p.m. kickoff at the MSU Soccer Field.
Vanderbilt 4-3-3 (1-0-2 SEC) vs. Mississippi State 7-2-1 (0-2-1 SEC)
Date: Sep 21, 2012 Attendance: 704
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Vanderbilt.......... 2 2 - 4
Mississippi State... 1 1 - 2
1. 13:04 VANDY Brittney Thomas (1) (Erin Myers) - Header off long ball from free kick into bottom corner
2. 18:02 VANDY Dana Schwartz (4) (Cheyna Williams) - Cross blocked by keeper shot in off rebound
3. 19:56 MSU Elisabeth Sullivan (6) (unassisted) - Dribbles through defense and past keeper to shoot into open net
4. 55:15 VANDY Kelsey Tillman (3) (Brittney Thomas) - Shot from top of box off of post and in at far post
5. 65:17 MSU Elisabeth Sullivan (7) (unassisted) - Rebound shot in from initial header
6. 77:01 VANDY Gena Inbusch (1) Corner kick - Corner deflects in goal
Shots: Vanderbilt 19, Mississippi State 19
Saves: Vanderbilt 4 (Alexa Levick 4), Mississippi State 8 (Skylar