Sept. 13, 2013
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Southern Miss women's soccer team continued its recent trend of concurrently assaulting opponents' nets while stymying their offense. Friday, in the opening match of the Mississippi State tournament, the Golden Eagles downed the Jackson State Tigers 4-0.
The win marked the fifth shutout for Southern Miss (5-1-1) in its last six matches and the sixth consecutive loss for Jackson State (0-6-1). With the victory, the Golden Eagles officially surpassed their win total from 2012.
It was a match highlighted by more goals, in nearly unheard of short order, from senior and reigning Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week Danica Roberts as well as a full stat sheet from junior Brooke Hendrix.
The Golden Eagles started the scoring in the 34th minute when Hendrix buried a shot thanks to an assist from Roberts.
"We started a little bit flat tonight," coach Mohammed El-Zare said. "It took us 30 minutes to gather ourselves and get into the rhythm that we wanted but we got settled in and were able to get a goal and begin dictating the pace of the match ...
"I am proud of the way the girls responded tonight. We know that we will play some games where we will not be in top form, but we have to find a way to overcome that. And that's what the girls did tonight. They found a way to win despite, honestly, a very good effort by Jackson State. That tells me a lot about the character we have on this team."
Once the first goal reached the back of the net, Southern Miss began to establish its presence.
Less than 10 minutes after the opening score, Hendrix provided the assist as Somer Jones finished off the goal to make the score 2-0 just before the intermission.
In the second half, Roberts added two goals in the course of 54 seconds. She scored an unassisted, 71st-minute goal that she netted from 25 yards out and into the bottom right corner of the Tigers' goal and followed in 72nd minute by finishing off a 30-yard volley from Hendrix to push the Golden Eagle advantage to 4-0.
The goals were Roberts' eighth and ninth of the year, the top output among Conference USA players.
"Brooke continues to show great skill and maturity for us," El-Zare said, "and Danica was solid as usual. She just continues to produce."
Of Jones, the freshman who accounted for Southern Miss' second goal, El-Zare added, "It was a good night for Somer. We've seen more and more progression from her and tonight she came through with a big goal."
While the goals were the big story, El-Zare also pointed to the play of freshman Breann Hedin, who entered the match as a reserve in the first half and provided a change of pace that the coach said helped create the opportunities other players needed.
"Breann came through for us up front," El-Zare said. "She really made some great runs that demanded attention from Jackson State's defense and freed up our other players."
It was another strong effort by the entirety of the Southern Miss defense - featuring a back line of Adriana Garcia, Casey Adkins, Kay Kay Hypolite and Conner McKie - which blanked Mississippi State in its most recent match and has allowed just five total goals on the year.
With the Golden Eagles allowing just six total shots with none on goal, the goalie pair of Brittany Taylor (3-1-1) and Lindsey Schwaner were not required to make a save. Jackson State keeper Kylie Christian (0-3-1) finished with six saves.
"They were strong throughout," El-Zare said. "We have such a young lineup on the back, but they continue to improve and play with passion."
Southern Miss returns to action Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. against Furman, the second and final match of the Mississippi State tournament for both squads.
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