KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - Mississippi State soccer lost in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday afternoon when No. 19/14 Tennessee scored the game-winner in the 87th minute.
After defending a free kick, the ball landed at the feet of Tennessee's Wrenne French who made a short pass to Bunny Shaw. Shaw shot from alongside the penalty spot off the inside of the left post to score.
"(This one was) extremely difficult to swallow," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "Obviously, everybody is disappointed to say the very least. We've got to learn from it, and get better."
The Bulldogs had two late chances to even the match. Just 45 seconds after the Volunteers' goal, freshman Niah Johnson had her shot in the box blocked. With seven seconds left in the match, freshman Zakirah McGillivary had an opportunity inside the box, but the ball was saved to end the game.
MSU had opportunities early in the first half. While shots were even through the first 45 minutes, the Bulldogs had four shots on target and kept the Volunteers off frame. State's defense played well throughout the match, successfully defending seven corner kicks, and the Bulldogs held a lead in shots on goal, 6-5.
"I thought we played a great first half," Anagnost said. "We were on the front foot, and I thought we were the better team. We had chances, and I know we're good enough to put them in the net."
Redshirt senior Rhylee DeCrane made multiple fantastic saves to preserve a scoreless tie before the goal. Her biggest one came in the 74th minute, when she dove to her left to deny a penalty kick for one of her four saves.
"She was fantastic," Anagnost said. "She was the best player on our team today. They generated chances, and to be honest, they could've scored more than a goal. We have to expedite our learning curve and adapt to things, especially against a greatly talented team like this."
State returns home next week for one match, hosting Florida on Friday, Sept. 28. Kickoff against the Gators is set for 7 p.m. CT with the match broadcast on SEC Network+.