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Mississippi State picks up first NCAA Tournament win

80 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics
Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE - State's historic season continues after defeating New Mexico State, 2-1, on Friday evening in the NCAA Tournament's opening round.

Sophomore defender Rylie Combs' 87th-minute header helped secure State its first NCAA tournament win in program history.

"First off, I'd like to congratulate New Mexico State on an unbelievable season," head coach James Armstrong said. "It was a really hard-fought game, and they did a great job. We knew that we'd have to be putting in a really good performance, and we did it tonight."

For the first 44 minutes, neither team could find the back of the net. Both teams had only recorded three shots before MSU's Alivia Buxton delivered the first goal of the game 30 seconds before the half. The goal is now the third of the season for the freshman.

The Aggies would grab the equalizer in the 73rd minute. However, after only registering two shots in the first 45 minutes, MSU would rattle off 13 shots in the second half alone.

With only three minutes left in regulation, Combs headed in the ball off a corner from sophomore Haley McWhirter. It's now the second time in three games State has won off a late-minute header.

I would also like to thank the fans for coming out tonight," Armstrong added. "An unbelievable turnout tonight, great crowd. [Special thanks to] all the people [it took] into putting on an unbelievable event - facilities, the groundskeeper, administration, everything else. It was a really great night on the field, and we're proud of everyone that was a part of it."

The No. 7-seed Bulldogs will continue its postseason run next weekend (Nov. 18-20) and will face the winner of Memphis and Saint Louis. Kickoff time and location will be announced following the conclusion of first round matches.