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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

A dream start for Carrasco and soccer team

The phrase ‘SEC, it just means more’ might be an advertising tagline for the Southeastern Conference, but true-freshman Miranda Carrasco from Cypress, Texas, understands representing Mississippi State University in SEC competition, to put it simply, does mean more.
“I could not even tell you how excited I was,” Carrasco said. “I just had all these feelings rushing through me. It has always been my dream to play in the SEC. Before the game started, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it is actually here.'”
Carrasco said the one person who understood how just much starting in an SEC match meant to her was her twin sister, who messaged her the day of the game.
“My sister texted me a sweet, long paragraph saying that I’ve worked my whole life for this,” Carrasco said. “(She said) ‘This is what you have been waiting for, so go show them what you can do and prove to them why you are there.'”
Carrasco has six assists in 839 minutes of playing time, as she started in all 10 of the MSU (8-2, 1-2 SEC) games this season. On paper, Carrasco has a strong freshman campaign, but she believes there are needed improvements to her play. 
“I think this has been a pretty good, dream start for my freshman (season), of course I can always improve and get better,” Carrasco said. “For how things started and how I have been doing, it has been a pretty good start, but it will get better–I know it will get better.”
As for the first SEC game, it was not a dream start for the team as a whole. MSU fell to Auburn 3-0 and struggled to find the synergy from the previous games. However, Carrasco said the game allowed the team to realize holes in their skills or strategies. 
“You live and you learn,” Carrasco said. “That was a really good game to learn from. For me, it was my first time playing in an SEC game, so obviously it was different, the level of play was different.”
Despite only giving up four goals in the nine out-of-conference games, the backline of MSU has already allowed five goals in just three SEC games. The most recent of these games came as a loss to the University of Tennessee (8-1-1).
“It was a good learning process,” Carrasco said. “We are just working on [our game play] to be not perfection, but almost to perfection, so that we can be strong and be the defensive line we know we can be.”
The team hit a school record second place in the RPI (Rating Percentage Index) for college soccer. For MaKayla Waldner, a junior from Dexter, Missouri, this is one of the biggest accomplishment for the program.
“That’s a huge step for us,” Walden’s said. “For as long as I’ve known, we’ve never been anywhere near the top and it’s a huge achievement for all of us.”
However, she said the team is not taking it lightly, as they still feel like they can improve. At the same time, Waldner is proud of the staff and players for working to make sure it is possible to achieve all they can.
“I think we are going to have to take that with a grain of salt and keep pushing,” Waldner said. “No matter how high we get, even though we are number two, we can always be number one, but our program has really turned around. I’m proud of all the girls.”
Waldner said the biggest positive for the team is their environment allows for team growth, as she thanked the players and head coach Tom Anagnost for this setting.
“It is just a winning environment, very competitive, and it is not so much about individual players,” Waldner said. “It is more collective and coming together as a team to overcome any obstacle. It could be passing a fitness test or coming out here and trying to beat South Carolina.”
Part of the improvement and competition is seen at the attacking side of the field, as they have scored 25 goals this season, which is only seven behind what they finished with last year with seven games, a big part is due to depth at the attacking positions.
“I think we have more of an offensive line who can come in and make an impact,” Waldner said. “Nothing to take away from our past years, but we have a deeper bench. If one of our starters get subbed off, it is not going to matter because the person coming in off the bench is just as good.”

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
A dream start for Carrasco and soccer team