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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Soccer team opens with Jackson State

    Mississippi State’s soccer team starts its season today at the Ole Miss Nike Invitational. After what was supposed to be the season opening game last Sunday versus Mississippi Valley State was cancelled, the Lady Bulldogs hope to set their season off on the right foot with victories this weekend at the invitational, facing Jackson State Friday and Morehead State Sunday.
    “I’m very optimistic. We’ve seen some good things in the pre-season, early sign are great,” Neil Macdonald said.
    Leading the team this year are the two team captains – senior center back Hannah Tyler and junior center back Leanna Baldner.
    “We have a chance to be very good; we’re an offensive-minded team this year whereas last year we were more defensive-minded,” Baldner said. “If we can bring the defensive-mindedness of last season and apply it to this season’s offense, we have a chance to go far.”
    Also helping to lead the team this year are senior goalkeeper Taryn Holland and senior midfielder Andrea Harrison.
    Further strengthening our roster from abroad, junior Danielle Kite, an English international student considered by MacDonald to be “one of our strongest players,” freshman Monica Alvarado, a Mexican international student who was recently put on the Mexican national women’s soccer team and freshman Rachel Wannek, a Canadian international student who is helping to lead the front line of this year’s offensive season.
    “Based on the practices, we have the skill and the chemistry to do really well this season,” Wannek said. “We have high expectations.”
    In their first match, set to start at 4 p.m. in Oxford, the Lady Bulldogs will face The Jackson State Lady Panthers (0-1) and will compete in their second match Sunday against The Morehead State Lady Eagles(1-1).
    “Each of these teams are tip-top in their conferences, and every game is important, but I’m very confident in the girls abilities,” MacDonald said.
    This year, the Bulldogs will run a 4-3-3 with an offensive mindset.
    “We plan to attack,” MacDonald said. “Possess and attack.”
    When asked if their were any specific changes to the game plan for the Jackson State or Moorehead State matches, MacDonald said, “No, we will not have to adapt to them, they will have to adapt to us.”
    This year’s team has many young players, but with the leadership of the captains, the season is looking up.
    “They’re [the captains] absolutely aggressive. They know how to get things done and when to say things,” Wanneck said. As she matures in the club, Wannek said she looks up to the captains and hopes to be a leader like them.
    The Lady Bulldogs, who finished (5-15-0, 0-11-0 SEC) last year, hope to rebound with this year’s aggressive young team. A big factor for the team is fan support.
    The first home game of the season is Sept. 11 versus the Troy University Trojans.

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    Soccer team opens with Jackson State