On a sun-soaked afternoon in Starkville, the Mississippi State soccer team rolled its way to a 5-0 victory over South Alabama to finish the Bulldog Classic with a 2-0 mark.
Following the game, MSU head coach Neil Macdonald expressed his excitement for the way his team performed.
“Tough conditions," Macdonald said. "It was very hot, it was our first Sunday game and I thought the girls were outstanding from the start to the finish."
Amy Hoover shined for the Bulldogs with a two-goal effort, the first multi-goal effort of the season. Elisabeth Sullivan chipped in her third goal of the weekend while freshman Halee Heltsley and senior Madison McKee added goals to cap State's five-goal afternoon.
“(Sullivan) is just an outstanding wide player,” Macdonald said. “She can beat players one-on-one, she can combine with others, and she is dangerous in front of goal. I think she is sometimes faster with the ball at her feet. She had two great performances this weekend.”
The Bulldog attack moved the ball well keeping the pace and rhythm at a high level the entire match.
“We’ve done a lot of work since the spring on our ball retention and being smart about our movement off the ball in the final third,” Macdonald said. “We were good with playing at a high tempo and keeping the ball moving.”
Mississippi State won the tournament for the second-straight year as it improved to 3-0 the season, the best start since 2009.
“I was really pleased with the performance from start to finish,” Macdonald said. “We moved the ball well, and it got better as the game went along. There were some very good individual performances, but the foundation of what we do is through the team moving the ball around and working for one another. As a coach, I am delighted to see our team perform like that.”
The Bulldogs hit the road for the first time next weekend, venturing to Hattiesburg for the Southern Miss Soccer Invitational. MSU faces Georgia State at 1:30 p.m. Friday before closing the weekend against Louisiana-Monroe in an 11:30 a.m. first kick.