The Mississippi State University soccer team was ready to do some damage on Saturday afternoon, coming off a 2-0 win over Arkansas State University last Saturday. This past Saturday, the Bulldogs faced an opponent they had not seen in nearly 10 years: the Troy Trojans. Troy was fresh off a 1-0 win over the Mercer University Bears and was ready to take on MSU, their last contest of the 2021 spring schedule.
The Trojans were aggressive out of the gate, keeping the ball on MSU's side of the pitch early. The Bulldogs were able to hold Troy without a shot until almost 13 minutes in when their sophomore forward Melissa Kuya-Strobel sent one over the net and out of play. Other than that, MSU was locking down Troy's attack early on.
The Bulldogs had some early opportunities as well, though most of them were called off due to offsides penalties. All that changed in the 26th minute when junior forward Monigo Karnley found the back of the net, putting MSU up 1-0. The Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, native scored her third goal of the season and her first since the Louisiana State University game in October 2020. Karnley shared about her shot after the game.
"As the ball went wide, I tried to get on the wide side of the center back because she can't see me and the ball," Karnley shared. "Thank God Birna found me that close. And I just tried to head it down and pray that it went in."
Birna Johannsdottir, the freshman midfielder out of Garðbær, Iceland, got the assist on the play, her third of the year.
Also getting an assist on the play was forward and midfielder Maddison Cotta, a sophomore from Tulare, California.
MSU's next opportunity would come not long after, as forward KK Pavatt crossed the ball in to junior midfielder Hannah Telleysh as she nudged it in, giving MSU a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute. The Orlando, Florida, native scored her first goal of the season and the first goal of her Bulldog career last week against Arkansas State University. Pavatt, a freshman out of Conway, Arkansas, picked up her second assist of the season on the play as well.
When asked about the team's mentality for the game, Telleysh said her team was focusing on improvement.
"In the second half we were just coming back into the game and trying to get more numbers on the board and just hopefully doing better than we did last week." Telleysh added, "We're just continually building on what we do in practice and that each game week we get better, and eventually, we are at our peak performance".
MSU proved to be aggressive in the start of the second half. While they were not able to convert on any of their opportunities in the second half, they were able to stifle any chances Troy had to score.
"Most of them were pretty big in size and were very physical on the ball," Telleysh shared after the game. She also said the team would have to "stick into tackles and make sure we came out with the ball."
When the horn sounded after a hard-fought match, the Dawgs came away with a 2-0 victory.
MSU will be back on the field on April 1 against Columbus State University at 3:00 PM. This will be MSU's final home game of the 2021 spring schedule.