After surrendering three goals to the Auburn Tigers last Sunday, goalkeeper Julie Eckel and the Tennessee defense turned in a great performance in Starkville to keep Mississippi State off the score sheet. Shots came early and often for the Bulldogs, who registered 13 shots, seven of which came on target to force a save from Eckel, who set a school record for most minutes played as a goalkeeper.
Though Tennessee was good enough to keep the Bulldogs from scoring, they were unable to put a goal in themselves, and the game ended in a scoreless tie after two overtimes.
Mississippi State looked like the better team throughout, but Eckel denied them repeatedly. Her best save came in the 25th minute, when she reached up to deny MSU’s Morgan Mills’ high shot from close range. While she made plenty of saves, Eckel’s most impressive moment may have come early in the first half, when she rushed out nearly to midfield to kick the ball away, putting an end to a great counter-attack opportunity that very well could have resulted in a goal for the home team.
Mississippi State’s goalkeeper put in an impressive performance of her own. Though Parisian sophomore Tanya de Souza only had to make three saves on 14 Tennessee shots, she was still heavily involved in the Bulldogs’ gameplay, frequently putting an end to Tennessee counter-attacks and giving an extra passing option to her teammates.
For the second game in a row, the Volunteer offense was lacking. The last game, it was partially due to Auburn managing to shut down freshman midfielder Katie Cousins. Playing against the Bulldogs on her birthday, Cousins looked much better, especially late in regulation and overtime. This time, the Vols’ offensive woes may have been due to the fact that midfielder Amy Neal was forced to leave the game with an injury after just five minutes of play.
Tennessee hopes Neal will be ready to go Sunday, as they travel to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Edited by Cody McClure