STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - Senior Day for the Mississippi State Bulldog soccer team gave the squad an added boost, as they breezed past Austin Peay in a 4-0 shutout on Sunday. For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs opened the season by shutting out five of their first six opponents.
"We are very pleased," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "They took some shots but most of them were from 30 yards out. We felt pretty comfortable giving those out instead of others."
Freshman Zakirah McGillivary led the offensive effort with two nearly identical first-half goals, including the game-winner. For both goals, McGillivary received a pass with one hard touch then sprinted past the remaining defenders to set up one-on-ones with the goalkeeper. Just inside the box, she beat the charging keeper for goals in the eight and 28th minutes.
"(McGillivary) has just continued to grow," Anagnost said. "Her ability on the ball is really good, and she can beat players facing you, or back on the goal. She has been improving steadily, and that is what we hope from everybody."
Sophomore Gabriella Coleman added a third goal in the 39th minute. Following a throw in, freshman Monigo Karnley dribbled into the box then passed back to Coleman, who fired it home.
The Bulldogs had 12 shots in the first half, and nearly picked up their fourth goal when a header from junior MaKayla Waldner was stopped on the goal line.
Waldner would not be kept off the scoresheet, however. In the 70th minute, Karnley again penetrated the box and dropped the ball off to Waldner at the top of the six-yard box. The junior wasted no time scoring her sixth of the year past the diving goalkeeper.
State has now scored first in all six matches this year and has twice put 10 or more shots on goal. The defense held Austin Peay to just two shots, both from around 30 yards out. Redshirt senior Rhylee DeCrane picked up her fifth shutout of the season, which ties her for fourth in a single season in MSU's record books.
The Bulldogs will have a short break before their next game. State hosts Louisiana Tech on Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. CT with the match airing on SEC Network+.