The Mississippi State University and Arizona State University women’s soccer teams matched up in Starkville on Thursday night. MSU entered the match with one home victory under their belt, while the Sun Devils found themselves in Mississippi for their first road game of the 2021-22 season.
Free tacos were offered to those in attendance, and the crowd showed out for them as hoped. Macey Hodge, the sophomore middle from Douglasville, Georgia, encouraged fans to attend the match especially for the tacos.
“COME OUT & GET ROWDY," Hodge tweeted before the game.
The first half of the match was full of back and forth. Birta Gudlaugs, the goalkeeper for Arizona, and MSU’s Maddy Anderson both made two saves in the first half. The Bulldogs made three substitutions in the first half, while ASU doubled that number in an effort to change the outcome of the game.
Coach James Armstrong had nothing but positive statements about his substitutes.
“We call them game changers rather than subs; these girls can come on and change the game for us at any point in time," Armstrong said.
After a scoreless first half, this would ring true in the second half of the game.
The Bulldogs started off the second half strong, with an almost immediate lower right corner shot. It was kept out by Sun Devil goalie Gudlaugs as one of her five saves in the second half.
Coming into the game as a substitute, freshman Juliet Moore from Dallas, Texas, made her MSU soccer debut. Quickly into her 14 minutes of playing time, Moore took a big hit from ASU.
After the game, Onyi Echegini, the junior midfielder from London, England, said she was proud of Moore's debut.
“I’m super proud of her, your first collegiate minutes are extremely nerve-racking,” Echegini said.
Coach Armstrong talked about his decision to give Moore playing time on Thursday night.
“She is a player right now who is doing everything right in training," Armstrong said. "We look at her and think she should probably be playing more than she has.”
The second half of the match continued to be a duel for the state soccer squads. Shortly before scoring, ASU received a yellow card. With under three minutes left in the game, Nicole Douglas of ASU shot the only goal past MSU’s keeper. Douglas leads the Sun Devils in assists, points and shots on the season.
The Bulldogs fell short in their first-ever game against an Arizona school. The Sun Devils walked away victorious, 1-0 over MSU, ending a five-game winning streak and 474 minutes without allowing a goal at home.
Despite the loss, all members of the squad were proud of their effort and ready to play again. MSU soccer faces Southeast Missouri State University in their next match on August 29 at 1 p.m.