MSU soccer opens regular season at home against Southern Mississippi

Tom Anagnost

Staff Writer

Preseason practice is done. A pair of exhibitions are in the past. Thursday, everything starts to count as the Mississippi State soccer team opens up its 2018 season hosting Southern Miss.

“We’re inching closer,” MSU head soccer coach Tom Anagnost said earlier this week of anticipating his team’s first contest. “We’re all anxiously awaiting that moment.”

The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles begin at 7 p.m. The in-state battle will be televised by SEC Network.

There is a bit of familiarity between the two programs. MSU and Southern Miss have met 11 previous times on the pitch with the Bulldogs dominating the series. State is 7-2-2 all-time against the Golden Eagles.

All the success of the past doesn’t mean a thing tonight though. Anagnost believes his team is in for a fight.

“We played (Southern Miss) our first spring (in an exhibition) and we didn’t generate many chances,” Anagnost recalled. “They had the better share of the game for 75 minutes. They’re tactically very good from what I remember. They defend together and they have some players that can score. They present a different type of challenge that we will need to overcome from a tactical and technical standpoint.”

If MSU can capture a win tonight, it’d be good news for not only the Bulldogs, but Anagnost as well. A victory would give Anagnost his 10th career triumph as State’s head coach. In just his 19th game, it’d be the fastest an MSU coach has ever gotten to 10 career wins at State.

A win would also give Mississippi State a solid foundation as it looks to improve upon last year’s success. A season ago, the Bulldogs had their first winning season since 2009 and best winning percentage since 2001. They narrowly missed reaching their first-ever NCAA Tournament. This year, the Bulldogs hope to finally bust through that glass ceiling.

The quest starts tonight against Southern Miss and Anagnost knows it won’t be easy.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Anagnost said.

MSU will have the services of potential All-SEC players as Carly Mauldin, Brooke McKee, Courtney Robicheaux and MaKayla Waldner made the 2018 All-SEC Watch List on Wednesday.