STARKVILLE, Miss. – Aaron Gordon wanted to see his team battle back from a tough opener on Friday. On a stifling Sunday afternoon his team did despite suffering a 1-0 setback to Cincinnati at the MSU Soccer Field.
State fell to 0-2 with the setback, while Cincinnati improved to 2-0 thanks to the 67th-minute header from Katy Couperus off a Jae Atkinson corner kick.
Although the result didn’t favor MSU, the statistics were once again virtually even. The Bearcats claimed a slim 11-9 edge in shots, but the on-goal opportunities were closer, with Cincinnati leading 5-4.
Goalkeepers Natalie Smith and Rhylee DeCrane each stopped four shots in the contest.
“Today was good because we bounced back from a result on Friday we weren’t pleased with. We were pleased with our effort on Friday, and we took it into today against a big, physical Cincinnati team,” Gordon said. “After the two exhibitions and these two games, we are definitely a battle-tested team. The team rebounded which is a good thing.”
Mallory Eubanks just missed her second goal of the season in the 84th minute as her shot from range sailed just high of the crossbar. Fellow rookie Hannah Smith had the Bulldogs’ final equalizing opportunity turned back by Cincinnati’s Smith with four minutes to play.
The decisive goal came after neither squad could capitalize in the opening 45 minutes of action.
DeCrane opened the contest with a nice diving save of a Danielle Rotheram shot in the third minute.
State was unable to convert minutes later, as Smith had an opportunity turned back and Eubanks was denied twice from just beyond the 18-yard box.
DeCrane kept the match scoreless in the 21st minute when she came off her line and made a diving stop on a Laura Rose shot attempt.
Gordon’s squad heads for Furman Thursday for its first road contest of the season. Kick for that contest is set for 6 p.m. CST.
State returns home Sunday to face in-state foe Southern Miss at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network +.