STARKVILLE, Miss. – Elisabeth Sullivan had a hand in three of Mississippi State’s four second-period goals Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs posted a shutout victory against Jackson State at the MSU Soccer Field.
Sullivan scored the game’s opening goal nine minutes into the second period before assisting on two more scores.
After failing to convert on four on-goal chances in the first period, the Bulldogs shook off the rust from a one-month layoff between matches and found Sullivan for a breakaway opportunity that she deposited from just inside 18-yard box.
“The toughest thing for us is that we haven’t played in a month, so it took us 25 minutes to get back in that rhythm of playing an opponent and not ourselves,” Gordon said. “After that opening 25 minutes we settled down and scored four really good goals.”
Six minutes later, Sullivan flicked a ball past the Jackson State back line that found Shannon Palmer for the goal that put MSU in front 2-0.
“This was our second game with a couple of our kids playing new roles that they are trying to learn,” Gordon said. “The staff and team are still trying to feel each other out. Doing it in training is one thing, but seeing it in a game gives us a different type of assessment.
“Watching Elisabeth (Sullivan) score was a bright spot. It’s something she does well, and it’s something we will have to count on,” Gordon added. “Shannon Palmer is getting opportunities she might not have had in the fall due to injury, and she’s also been a bright spot this spring. I thought our coordination on defense was good today as well.”
One of those defenders, Shelby Jordan, gave Mississippi State the 3-0 advantage with 7:30 left as she took the ball and made a brilliant run through the defense before beating the keeper with a shot to the right post.
The Bulldogs added the final strike 32 seconds later. Sullivan dribbled to the end line and sent a cross right to Dana Forbes for the header that put MSU in front 4-0.
State’s defense dominated the action, preventing the Tigers from getting a shot on target at MSU goalie CJ Winship.
MSU dominated possession and ended the 75-minute contest with 13 chances on goal and seven corner kicks.
Gordon’s squad returns to action Thursday, traveling to Tupelo to face Memphis at 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs head to Jackson two days later to face Northwestern State at 1:30 p.m. That contest will be played at either Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland or the Jackson Futbol Club (2240 Westbrook Road in Jackson).
Mississippi State wraps the spring slate April 20, hosting Southern Miss at 11:30 a.m. as part of Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Regions Bank.