Tuscaloosa Triumph: Tuscaloosa, Ala. – In a season of Bulldogs’ “firsts,” Sunday night unfolded a rare opportunity—conquering Alabama’s home turf. The Crimson Tide had stood undefeated in Tuscaloosa since September 9th, 2021, when they succumbed to the then-ranked 6 Horned Frogs of TCU. A remarkable 28-game home-winning streak , including 22 consecutive victories, faced a fierce challenge. State’s Bulldogs (10-3-4, 5-2-2 SEC) clashed with the Tide (10-4-4, 4-4-1 SEC), dominating the second half to silence Alabama 2-0, dimming the lights on senior night for a squad that reached the College Cup last season.
The first half showcased the physicality of the match, captivating both live and televised audiences. A goalless affair for the initial 45 minutes, with both teams pressing into the attacking third. The scoreline, however, remained locked at 0-0 as the squads retreated to the locker room. Bama led in shots 5-2 in the first half, managing a sequence of three consecutive corner kicks, all thwarted by the Dawgs.
State elevated their assault in the second half, finally breaching Alabama’s defense. The relentless attack, seemingly trapped, found a breakthrough with a series of one-touch passes. Hannah Johnson connected with Ilana Izquierdo, delivering a sublime pass to Aitana Martinez-Montoya for a spectacular strike, giving the Dawgs a 1-0 lead. The play epitomized State’s offensive persistence throughout the match.
In the 72nd minute, State sealed Alabama’s home unbeaten streak with a decisive blow. Maggie Wadsworth orchestrated a breathtaking breakaway, outmaneuvering Crimson Tide’s center back, Sasha Pickard, with a skillful juke move. Wadsworth seized the golden opportunity, overcoming the usually impenetrable Pickard to extend the lead to 2-0.
State’s defense, stellar throughout the season, reached unprecedented heights in the last five matches. Sunday marked the Bulldogs’ fifth consecutive shutout, falling just shy of the program record. Maddy Anderson claimed the most shutouts in the SEC this season with nine (11 including combined shutouts). Anderson ranked third in save percentage (.831) and goals allowed average (0.60) and fourth in saves (49).
October proved historic for the Bulldogs, starting with a historic win in the Swamp against Gainesville, capturing their first victory in program history, 1-0. Three days later, they secured the Magnolia Cup from Ole Miss for the fourth-straight season.
Returning after a week’s break, the Bulldogs faced the unbeaten and 18th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, clinching another top-20 road victory, 2-0. MSU was named the NCAA Women’s Soccer Team of the Week after their triumph in Lexington. Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Vanderbilt maintained the Bulldogs’ unbeaten streak, setting the stage for a pivotal road win against No. 16 Alabama, concluding October at 4-0-1.
The significance of this win resonates deeply in Mississippi State Soccer history. With the 2-0 victory at No. 16 , State achieves back-to-back wins against ranked opponents for the first time. The triumph marks the third win over a ranked opponent on the road in program history, with the second occurring just a week ago at Kentucky, 2-0. The Bulldogs carry a six-game SEC unbeaten streak into the final game of the regular season, a historic milestone for the program.