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Southern Miss Named Co-Champs of Mississippi State Tournament

Danica Roberts

Sept. 15, 2013

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STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sunday, Southern Miss participated in another high-drama match. In their fourth overtime of the young season, the Golden Eagles played the Furman Paladins to a 1-1 double-overtime draw in the final match for both squads in the Mississippi State tournament.

It was a result that earned the Golden Eagles (5-1-2) the title of Co-Tournament Champions alongside Furman (3-2-1) since both teams won 4-0 in their tournament-opening matches Friday night, scored five total goals, allowed one goal apiece and finished the tournament with matching 1-0-1 records.

The win also earned three Golden Eagles individual honors.

Senior Danica Roberts was named Co-MVP of the tournament after scoring two goals and adding two assists over two matches. Roberts was also one of three Southern Miss players named to the All-Tournament team alongside Brooke Hendrix (one goal and three assists) and freshman keeper Brittany Taylor (one goal allowed over two matches).

"I'll tell you what, that was a fun match to coach and a fun match to watch," coach Mohammed El-Zare said. "We played a team that is probably 100 points higher than us in RPI, an excellent and well-coached team. They were a great opponent for us as we prepare for conference play.

"Both teams played with passion and energy but both teams played soccer. It was great for us, as coaches, to watch our players go out against a quality opponent and execute everything we've been working on. I am very pleased with how the ladies played today. It was a true, total team effort. We made a lot of substitutions and adjustments and everyone we called on did everything we asked."

Southern Miss has, in its eight matches, played as many overtime games as those ending in regulation. The Golden Eagles' record in overtime matches moved to 1-1-2 after Sunday. It was the first overtime match for the Paladins.

The match remained scoreless until the 52nd minute when Furman's Stephanie DeVita scored thanks to an assist from India Robinson and Delaney Sheehan.

Southern Miss countered in the 65th minute when Hendrix sent a ball to Roberts, who redirected to Ashley Johnson, who in turn finished off the goal, made the score 1-1 and, eventually, forced the overtime.

"Danica and Brooke continue to produce amazing results for us," El-Zare said. "On the goal, Brooke received the ball and essentially made three players miss. She fed the ball to Danica who got it to Ashley for the goal. It was a great play."

Defensively, both teams were able to limit shot attempts by the opposing offense and both Taylor (3-1-2) and Furman's Rose Hull (1-1-1) faced four shots on goal and made three saves apiece.

The Golden Eagles return to Hattiesburg for their next match, a Friday showdown with Alcorn State. Due to facility upgrades currently taking place at the Bell Track and Field, Soccer Complex, this match will be played at Tatum Park in Hattiesburg. The match kicks off at 4 p.m.

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