STARKVILLE, Miss. - A solid second-half effort wasn't enough Friday night as the Mississippi State soccer team fell 5-1 to Iowa State in front of a record home crowd and national SEC Network + audience.
Freshman Mallory Eubanks opened her collegiate scoring account in the 46th minute, but the Aaron Gordon's squad was unable to erase a 3-0 halftime deficit in front of a program-best 1,010 fans.
The attendance marks the first time MSU has eclipsed the 1,000-fan mark for a soccer contest, and it bested the previous high of 935 set last season against Florida.
Despite the score line, the match was evenly played, with MSU taking a 14-12 shots advantage. ISU claimed a 9-7 edge in on-goal chances.
"Our best team showed up in some ways tonight, and in other ways we didn't because of lack of experience we have to gain over the next couple of weeks," Gordon said. "The details of the game came down to the fact we gave up three goals off corners and didn't win the aerial battle when we needed to. We have to learn to do the little things that will allow us to do the things we pride ourselves on."
Margaret Powers put the visitors on top with a 26th-minute strike, and a couple minutes later Koree Willer put in another to make it 2-0.
Adalie Schmidt provided the halftime advantage with the first of her two goals in the contest.
After being out-shot 6-3 in the opening 45 minutes, MSU came out and put together an 11-6 advantage for the second half.
Moments after the second-half whistle Kelsey Pearce and Shannen Jainudeen found Eubanks on the right side, and the Lexington, Ky., native deposited the shot to the far post to make it a 3-1 contest.
State was unable to get any closer, though, as Schmidt scored in the 59th minute off a deflection by Bulldog goalie Rhylee DeCrane. Maggie Bruckman capped the scoring with a 70th-minute strike from range that just bested the out-stretched hands of DeCrane.
DeCrane ended the night with three saves, while Cyclone keeper Andrea Swanson turned away five MSU attempts, four in the second half.
"I told the team at halftime that the game wasn't over. We responded and got a great goal to begin the second half, and we had some other responses that their keeper made some great saves on," Gordon said. "We gave up a late goal that deflated us a little, but we kept creating chances to the end. This is going to be a process for the team."
Trailing 4-1 in the 67th minute, Swanson denied a Jainudeen header, and on the ensuing corner kick an Iowa State player managed to deny another Jainudeen attempt.
State saw another fully in front of the ISU goal denied in the 75th minute. Freshman Morgan Ferrara's shot hit the underside of the bar and just missed going over the line. Follow-up attempts by Jainudeen and Darbi Filliben were also turned away.
The Bulldogs close open weekend with a Sunday home contest against Cincinnati. Opening kick is set for 11:30 a.m. on SEC Network +.