After recording the first NCAA Tournament win in program history, the Mississippi State University soccer team travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to battle the University of Memphis.
For the first time in program history, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will be heading into the second round of the NCAA tournament following their historic win against New Mexico State University.
Each team will travel to Fayetteville, where the match is schedule to take place at 4 p.m. on Friday. However, the Bulldogs won’t be the only ones taking the field high off a win, as the Tigers upset the No. 2 seeded Saint Louis University Billikens in the first round with a victory of 1-0, breaking SLU’s winning streak of 18.
Following the upset win over Saint Louis, Memphis head coach Brooks Monaghan discussed the performance of his team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"All credit goes to the girls," Monaghan said. "We've faced more adversity this year than we have in the last five season, and they put their heads down and found a way. We've been playing some of our best soccer the last couple of weeks, and that's what wins championships."
After last week’s win against New Mexico State, the stakes to bring home a Bulldog win are high. Yet, this season tends to be a special one for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Between injuries and disadvantages, the Bulldogs managed to battle the adversity and earn their highest ranking ever in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
Even without goalkeeper Maddy Anderson, defender Miranda Carrasco, junior forward Elle McCaslin or midfielder Ally Perry, the Bulldogs have made adjustments leading to victories regardless of circumstance. Now that the Bulldogs are healthy and close to 100%, they could make some waves in the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.
MSU's Gwen Mummert explained the Bulldogs' mentality and how they have battled the challenges faced throughout the season.
"I think we all kind of have an underdog mentality most of the time, so we already had that grind and resilience," Mummert said. "So, when we had a setback, it was like, 'OK, just keep going. It's just one more setback. What's one more?' Just having that chip on our shoulder, I think we thrive with that."
Between the Tiger’s postseason magic and the Bulldog’s perseverance, the soccer field will be a battleground for more than just the leading number on the scoreboard.
All signs point towards a huge opportunity for this Bulldog team in a familiar environment on the road this Friday as they take on the Tigers at 4 p.m. That game can be found on ESPN+. If the Bulldogs are able to pull out a win, they'll face the winner of Arkansas vs. Ohio State on Sunday at 5 p.m., also on ESPN+.