The Mississippi State Bulldogs were the underdog going into Sunday's Southeastern Conference Western Division soccer showdown against No. 20 Auburn, but they didn't play like one.
The Bulldogs won their first conference match of the season and pulled off the upset 2-0 win.
After some hard luck in their first three SEC matches, MSU head coach Neil Macdonald was very happy to get the huge upset win.
"I'm just delighted with the girls, incredible commitment, great work rate and we felt like we were capable of doing something like this," said Macdonald. "We've been playing well and felt we were a little bit unlucky against Arkansas last week, but it came together today and the play from the front all the way to the back was fantastic."
On the front, Amy Hoover and Elisabeth Sullivan were splitting time, but both were able to find the back of the net for the Bulldogs.
Hoover scored State's first goal of the match in the 36th minute when she picked up a loose ball inside the box after Shannen Jainudeen kicked it past the Auburn keeper, who dove for the ball.Â
MSU held a 1-0 lead at halftime, but it extended their early in the second half.
The Bulldogs insurance goal came in the 46th minute off Sullivan's foot. The 2-0 lead wasn't easy to hold on to as Auburn put 13 shots on the goals in the second half, but MSU goalkeeper Skylar Rosson didn't let a single ball go past her on her way to her fourth win of the season.
"Sky is solid," said Macdonald. "She gives us nine out of 10 every single day at training and games as well. She's an excellent keeper and great communicator. She's always talking to her back line and had a very good individual performance for her."
The back line and defense for MSU is a young one but Macdonald has been pleased with their performances.
"They've done a great job all season," said Macdonald. "They had a rough night on Friday with a couple of silly errors, but they were almost perfect today."
MSU won several battles at midfield throughout the game, but Lauren Morgan seemed to have the biggest head-to-head challenge on her hands. A battle that she won.
"I thought Lauren was absolutely outstanding," said Macdonald. "She was playing against the number one player in the country from last year in Katy Frierson. Frierson was so subdued and frustrated because Lauren was just incredible."Â
MSU improves to 4-5-3 overall this season and 1-2-1 in conference play with the upset win in a very physical match where both teams had 13 fouls each.
"Everything that we did worked today," said Macdonald. "I think we played high pressure and collapsed on their midfield and it was obviously really physical and became a physical battle because (Auburn) got frustrated. That's the SEC and we expect it."
The Bulldogs will hit the road next Friday for a conference showdown with Georgia in Athens at 6 p.m.