The Bulldogs faced the University of Alabama on Friday night in Starkville where they tied the Crimson Tide in double overtime with a final score of 1-1.
Alabama's Crimson Tide kicked off to start the night, which also held the distinction of being the first athletic event on MSU's campus since March 8.
The first goal of the night was scored by Alabama's #18, Felicia Knox, a freshman midfielder from Shawnee, Kansas. Both defenses came out strong in the first half, making it a very back-and-forth start to the night. The second score of the night did not take place until the very end of the second half. MSU Head Coach James Armstrong said the last-minute score shows the faith the team members have in each other.
"We were down tonight, but we created numerous chances. And, listen, even though it was just one second left on the clock, that just shows the belief that they have in one another," Armstrong said. "They're willing to give 100% all the way even with one second left with the belief that we were going to score a goal."
The shot was by Hailey Farrington-Bentil, a junior forward from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She talked about what that moment was like for her during the press conference after the game.
"She went into a tackle, and the ball came out. And I took the plunge and kind of blacked out after that, but just chipped it to the side of her and that's pretty much it," Farrington-Bentil said about the shot that tied the game, sending them into overtime.
Neither team scored during the first overtime, taking the Bulldogs into the second overtime with the same tied 1-1 score with the Crimson Tide. The second overtime was no more eventful than the first, resulting in a tied first game for MSU.
Maddy Anderson, freshman goalkeeper from Seabrook, Texas, started the night for the Bulldogs, making two saves in the first half. She helped hold a strong defense throughout both halves and said there was a lot of pressure, but she felt supported by her teammates.
"It was a bit stressful, I'm not gonna lie," Anderson said about holding Alabama to one point throughout the majority of the match. "Our defense held their own and definitely supported me which made my job a lot easier. When it comes to me, I just have to do my job because I know I have the skills to do it. I just have to execute."
One of the team captains, Alyssa D'Aloise, a junior midfielder from Dallas, Texas, transferred to MSU from Texas Tech. She took two shots during the game against Alabama this weekend and totaled 108 playing minutes during the match. This was her first game at home because she was injured in the spring.
"Being able to step out on the field and be in a conference game is probably one of the best feelings I've ever had," D'Aloise shared after the game. "It was a really prideful moment, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity that I've been given."
The MSU soccer team will play their next match against Ole Miss in Oxford on Friday. The last time the Bulldogs faced their rival in soccer was during the SEC tournament last season, where the University of Mississippi won 2-1. Coach Armstrong said his team was going to start correcting mistakes from the Alabama game next week, as well as watching Ole Miss play.
"Last year was heartbreaking at the SEC tournament, but they're just the next opponent right now with a little bit of extra bite added to it," Armstrong said. "We're looking forward to going there and performing just like we want to do every week."