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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldogs settle for a tie against Vanderbilt

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Bralynn Newell | The Reflector
Soccer 10/25

Mississippi State University women’s soccer team engaged in a heartfelt and emotionally charged match against Vanderbilt Thursday night, marking their final home SEC showdown of the season.
This special occasion, known as the “Think Pink Game,” aimed to rally support for breast cancer awareness. Both teams entered this crucial encounter with near-identical records, promising a tightly contested affair.
The stands in the West End, the passionate soccer student section, responded wholeheartedly to the call of the occasion. Decking themselves in shades of pink, the student section transformed the stadium into a vibrant sea of rosy hues. This remarkable turnout exceeded all expectations with over 8,300 fans packing the stands.
The collective energy generated by this extraordinary crowd provided a substantial boost to MSU’s players, invigorating their spirits. Senior goalkeeper Maddy Anderson expressed her love toward the crowd’s effect on the team.
“The fans do a tremendous job at cheering and it really helps the team out,” Anderson said. “It gives us a boost that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
The game itself got off to a measured start with both teams locked in a relentless defensive struggle. Within the first 15 minutes of the half, a yellow card was issued to junior defender Rylie Combs, which further added to the tension of the match.
As the first half unfolded, it became evident that defense was the name of the game. With MSU and Vanderbilt locked in a contest of wills, both teams displayed remarkable defensive fortitude.
During the halftime break, the Mississippi State community came together to pay homage to two remarkable individuals  a mother and daughter who had triumphed over breast cancer. In a touching ceremony, the university celebrated their courage and resilience, emphasizing the importance of continued support and research in the fight against breast cancer.
The halftime entertainment was a unique twist on the traditional game of cup pong. The game had participants using their feet alone to guide a soccer ball into a trash can, a testament to the creativity and camaraderie that characterizes MSU’s community.
The second half of the game was no less intense with both MSU and Vanderbilt still battling for that elusive opening goal. It became increasingly clear that the outcome of the match would likely hinge on which team could break the deadlock first.
In a replay of events from the first half, Vanderbilt found itself on the receiving end of a yellow card for persistent infringement. This pivotal moment led to a chain of events, which, regrettably for the home team, culminated in a missed shot on goal  a narrative that had come to symbolize much of the night’s proceedings.
Controversial calls continued to be a theme throughout the match, as Mississippi State was denied clear goal-scoring opportunities due to a series of contentious decisions. To make matters more intriguing, junior forward Alexis Gutierrez received a yellow card for persistent infringement, furthering the growing sense of frustration on the field.
One particularly contentious moment saw a Mississippi State player forcefully brought to the ground by a Vanderbilt opponent, yet no foul was awarded. This raised questions about the consistency of the officiating.
The fiercely contested game eventually concluded in a 0-0 draw  leaving both teams with valuable ranking points that positioned MSU ahead of schools they had previously faced, thanks to their earlier victories.
With several SEC matches still remaining on the horizon, Coach James Armstrong saw this game as a potential momentum booster for the team as they prepare for challenging encounters against Alabama and Arkansas.
“They have belief,” Armstrong said. “We are playing and winning. We just need to put together two complete halves, but we’re starting to get there. [I] couldn’t be prouder.”
The Bulldogs will head on the road to go head-to-head with the Arkansas Razorbacks for their next matchup Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be aired on SEC Network.

About the Contributor
Noah McCord, Staff Writer
Noah McCord is a sophomore aerospace engineering major. Noah is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Bulldogs settle for a tie against Vanderbilt