STARKVILLE, Miss. – In the second year under coach Aaron Gordon, the Mississippi State soccer team kicks off the 2014 campaign on the home pitch Friday with a 7 p.m. contest against Iowa State.
The contest marks not only the 20th season of Bulldog soccer, but also the first MSU athletic event on the newly formed SEC Network +. Fans can watch the match online here or via the WatchESPN app for mobile devices for fans whose cable provider offer WatchESPN access.
Admission to all matches at the MSU Soccer Field is free.
As part of Friday’s home opener, fans can enjoy the kickoff combo, which includes a hot dog, popcorn and drink for $8, free 2014 Bulldog soccer posters and a demonstration from the MSU Ultimate Frisbee squad at halftime.
The Bulldogs welcome 19 freshmen to the program who will see their first regular-season action Friday. The 2014 cohort is the largest contingent since MSU’s inaugural soccer season in 1995.
Jainudeen transitioned from defender to forward in the offseason and netted the Bulldog’s winning goal against Memphis in exhibition play after tallying three in spring friendlies. Jainudeen enters her senior year with two goals and four assists in her career.
The Scarborough, Ontario, native is joined up top with freshman Morgan Ferrara, who has made an impact since joining the program last January. The Tampa, Fla., native notched an assist in the 1-0 exhibition win against Memphis and scored four goals over the final three matches of the spring slate.
In goal, the Bulldogs will rely on freshman Rhylee DeCrane, who collected nine saves in 120 minutes between the posts during exhibition play.
Friday’s match marks the fourth meeting with the Cyclones, but the first since the 2005 season opener, which ended in a 0-0 tie in Starkville. Iowa State claims a 2-0-1 series advantage.
The Cyclones enter the contest a year removed from a 9-9-2 overall mark and the first Big 12 Tournament appearance since 2007 under second-year coach Tony Minatta.
ISU returns six starters and 18 letterwinners, but lost its top two goal scorers. Top returnee Koree Willer, a sophomore, collected four goals and a team-high six assists in 2013.
After transferring to Drake for the 2013 season, goalie Andrea Swanson returned to Iowa State for her senior campaign. Swanson tallied 57 saves in her first two seasons with the Cyclones, but seeks to rebound after collecting one save and allowing two goals in a 2-1 loss to Nebraska-Omaha in exhibition play.Fans can follow Bulldog soccer on Twitter (@HailStateSOC), Facebook (facebook.com/HailStateSOC) and Instagram (HailStateSOC).