Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn soccer prepares for an SEC showdown against Mississippi State

<p>Auburn’s leading scorer, Anna Haddock, prepares to take a Tiger corner in the second half of Sunday’s win over Texas A&amp;M.</p>

Auburn’s leading scorer, Anna Haddock, prepares to take a Tiger corner in the second half of Sunday’s win over Texas A&M.

Auburn soccer's aspirations of winning its second, ranked match over South Carolina ended when the Gamecocks took over scoring three goals in the first half. The Tigers now look to overcome Mississippi State on the road to boost its slowed momentum, as well as its now-tattered SEC resume.

Auburn’s defense was expected to be the catalyst for a long, tight match, but it proved to be the downfall of the Tigers. They scored two goals in the second half but couldn’t land a third and fell 3-2 to the Gamecocks on the road.

Offensively, two goals should have done it. The Gamecocks were averaging less than one goal given up entering the match with Auburn. The Tigers landed double that with an Alyssa Malonson header and a Marrisa Arias left-foot strike to put two up on the scoreboard. 

In comparison, Mississippi State hasn’t nearly fulfilled its potential nearing the third-quarter mark of the regular season. Sitting at a mediocre 3-4-3 record, the Bulldogs have losses to Lipscomb, Arizona State and Florida while drawing with Georgia, Iowa and Minnesota. 

However, Mississippi State has yet to concede more than two goals throughout the entire season. If the defense can hold up against a shot-happy Tiger offensive front and if the front forwards spark a few goal-scoring opportunities, a win over a ranked Auburn opponent would buff the Bulldogs resume tremendously.

Key Matchup: Offensive Performances

Can Mississippi State hold back Anna Haddock, a goal-scoring and assist machine? Time will tell, but the combination of Haddock and Arias is a deadly duo that has helped lead the Tigers to an average of 2.55 goals per game. 

Auburn’s defense proved to be more vulnerable than once thought on Sunday. The Bulldogs will try to exploit the Tigers' backline early in the match and sink an early first-half goal, as many other opponents have done. 

That may be one of Auburn’s biggest weaknesses, giving up a goal in the first five minutes of the match in two of its biggest games against FSU and South Carolina. The Tiger offensive is vastly more aggressive with 16.7 shots a match, but a lightning-fast start or a lockdown tick-tack defense by either team will probably decide the momentum of this match.

Players to Watch:

Haddock will be itching to get back on the scoreboard after failing to put up a goal in Auburn’s road loss on Sunday. The sophomore doubles every other Tiger when it comes to shots taken and rewards herself with a team-leading eight goals on the season. 

Haddock has been in somewhat of a scoring drought in the past few matches though, only firing off three shots against Tennessee and South Carolina. Back-to-back SEC road tests are sure to fire up her offensive spirit and charisma. 

Onyi Echegini leads the Bulldogs with a commendable 30 shots taken throughout the season. Though, only two goals scored out of 30 shots isn’t the best ratio when it comes to shots per goal at 15. The Bulldogs' offense hasn’t been great, for a lack of better words, but if anyone can serve to be the rock for an offensive spark, it’s gonna be Echegini.

Stats to know:

Auburn leads the series 17-5 with three ties and rides an 11-0-2 record at home. On the road, as the Tigers will be on Thursday, Auburn leads with a 6-5-1 record with its last road win against the Bulldogs coming in 2015.

The Tigers are 2-2 in the SEC with losses to Tennessee and South Carolina, falling in two of its last three games.

Mississippi State won its last home match against the Tigers in 2019 and comes off a 1-0 home win against Kentucky. 

The Bulldogs average just under a single goal scored per game.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Auburn will take on Mississippi State in Starkville Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. CST. The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+. 

Larry Robinson | Photo Editor

Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman. 

Twitter: @ReportingLarry

Share and discuss “Auburn soccer prepares for an SEC showdown against Mississippi State” on social media.