BATON ROUGE, La. – Elisabeth Sullivan scored two goals in the first 15 minutes Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge as the Mississippi State soccer team fell 3-2 to LSU in double overtime.
After State was unable to convert a corner kick to open the second stanza of extra time, Emma Fletcher found Megan Lee for the winner inside the right post in the 103rd minute.
State fell to 3-7 overall, 0-3 in the SEC, while the Tigers improved to 6-3-2 on the year, 2-0-1 in league play.
“After a really disappointing night in College Station on Friday, it would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves. I thought our attitude today was great, and we put in a much better performance,” head coach Aaron Gordon said. “I challenged our team to go out and put in the best performance they could, and they did that. We came out with two early goals, but unfortunately they came back and scored two late in the first half.
“We regrouped in the second half and came out with the same mentality we started the game with. We created some chances on the break, and I thought we did a good job defending them,” Gordon said. “Although we wanted to get the win, we can leave Baton Rouge feeling better about ourselves. We came out to compete today, and that’s what we have to do every time we step out on the field.”
Sullivan notched her 10th and 11th goals of the year, while adding to her school record with the seventh multiple-goal game of her career.
“We caught them on the break early, and Elisabeth scored a great goal. Then she did a nice job putting away the penalty kick,” Gordon said of Sullivan’s effort. “All day she found pockets of space around defenders. She wasn’t at full strength, but she really gutted it out and was dangerous for us today. I thought she was a threat all day. Shannen Jainudeen came in and played Annebel’s (ten Broeke) role for the first time, and I thought she did a great job for us today.”
The Memphis native put the Bulldogs up 1-0 four minutes in as she took a Shelby Jordan pass and scored to the left post from the top of the LSU area.
Just over three minutes later, Sullivan put Mississippi State in front 2-0 as she deposited a penalty kick.
State was unable to hold the lead, however, as Summer Clarke scored from eight yards out in the 11th minute and Nina Anderson hit a shot to the far panel with three minutes left in the opening half.
The match went to half tied despite both squads nearly converting a third goal of the half. In the 22nd minute, Sullivan had a 30-yard shot bounce off the crossbar. Seventeen minutes later, Fletcher’s free kick from 22-yards deflected off the left post.
After being out-shot 12-4 in the opening half, the Bulldogs were the more assertive side in the final 45-minute period, taking a 9-4 shots advantage. Each team claimed seven on-goal chances in the contest.
A pair of those came early in the second half off Sullivan’s foot, but both were turned away by LSU goalie Megan Kinneman.
The first came early in the 74th minute when Sullivan beat the defense down the left side. She tried to hit one to the far corner, but Kinneman made a diving save to tip it away.
Minutes later she found herself battling with an LSU defender on the sprint toward goal. Sullivan tried to punch it past Kinneman, but sent the shot inches wide of the left post.
Kinneman finished the contest with five saves, while Bulldog freshman Meara Johnson claimed four saves in the first SEC start of her career.
After a scoreless first overtime period, the Bulldogs just missed converting a corner kick to open the final extra session. The Tigers answered, with Fletcher finding Lee in the Bulldog area for the turn and the winner inside the right post.
Mississippi State returns home Friday, hosting No. 25 Kentucky in a 7 p.m. kickoff at the MSU Soccer Field. The Dawgs return to the road Sunday, heading to Arkansas for a 1 p.m. contest.