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Short-manned Bulldogs fall to Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) — Mississippi State was unable to overcome a hot Sunday afternoon and having to play down a player for nearly 80 minutes as Tennessee claimed a 4-0 win at Regal Stadium in Knoxville.

Mississippi State was forced to play with 10 when Kayleigh Henry was issued a red card in the 11th minute trying to defend a Tennessee breakaway.

The ensuing UT free kick from the edge of the 18 was denied by Tanya de Souza, who made five saves in the opening half of action.

The Lady Vols put the opening goal past de Souza two minutes later as Anna McClung’s shot hit the underside of the bar and was deemed to have crossed the line before bouncing back into play.

Cheyenne Spade made it a 2-0 game in the 29th minute as she headed in an Aran Parry pass.

Christine Creighton and Cali Hutson scored in the 40th and 43rd minutes, respectively, to give UT a 4-0 lead at halftime that would prove to be the final margin.

The loss dropped State to 3-7 overall, 0-3 in SEC play, while Tennessee picked up its first league win while improve to 6-5 overall.

“We told our team at halftime that we needed to come out in the second half and play with pride. I thought we did that. I was proud of the way our team came out and posted a shutout in the second half,” Aaron Gordon said. “It is difficult to play down a player, but it is even tougher on a Sunday when you’re on the road. It has been a constant learning process for our young team, and this was another lesson they learned today.”

The Bulldogs didn’t let the halftime deficit deter them, however. MSU created nine second-half shots and freshman Rhylee DeCrane posted five saves in 45 shutout minutes.

Shannen Jainudeen missed wide on a header in the 54th minute and high on another a minute later.

In the 59th minute Rhylee DeCrane hit a free kick just outside the UT 18 that went right into the wall. A follow-up shot by Payton Gruenewald carried just over the bar.

The Bulldogs created another chance in the 77th minute as a DeCrane punt was flicked on by Jainudeen to Eubanks. The Lexington, Ky., native’s shot, however, elevated just over the bar.

State found its lone chance on target with two minutes remaining as Peyton Shaffer took a try from range that went right to UT keeper Jamie Simmons.

UT looked to add a late goal, but DeCrane denied Creighton’s point-blank shot attempt.

Tennessee ended the match with a 31-9 shots advantage, including a 14-1 edge in on-goal opportunities.

Mississippi State returns home Friday, hosting LSU at 7 p.m. The Dawgs stay at home Sunday to meet No. 22 Georgia in a 1 p.m. contest on SEC Network +.

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