PHOENIX, Ariz. – Soccer kicked off their season on a triumphant note, securing a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Grand Canyon University in a gritty showdown in the desert. The season opener was a complete team effort as 17 Bulldogs graced the pitch on Thursday night. On a hot Phoenix night, State showcased determination and skill, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.
From the opening whistle, the Bulldogs and Lopes displayed remarkable intensity, each eager to mark their dominance early in the season. The atmosphere at Grand Canyon Stadium, charged with anticipation, fueled the players’ energy as they battled relentlessly for control of the ball and dominance on the pitch early in the first half.
Amidst a charged atmosphere, State delivered a performance that exemplified their determination and toughness. Offensively, the Bulldogs were on the attack early and often as they took eight shots in the first 18 minutes, capitalizing on stellar defense at the 17′ to take a 1-nill lead. Macey Hodge and Kennedy White created the opportunity with Hannah Johnson delivering the first goal of the 2023 season.
In the 70′, MSU capitalized once again. Aitana Martinez-Montoya received a beautiful through pass by Zoe Main off of her right foot to net the second goal of the game which was ultimately the difference in the contest.
The midfield, led by Haley McWhirter’s two shots, displayed impeccable control of the game’s tempo, while Alexis Gutierrez’s relentless effort underlined the team’s resilience.
The defensive line, led by Rylie Combs, stood steadfast against Grand Canyon University’s advances throughout the match. Ruthny Mathurin’s valiant contribution added depth to the offensive strategies, while Maddy Anderson in goal recorded five saves to secure the win.
Quoting Head Coach James Armstrong
“A gritty win on the road against a quality opponent tonight. We were clinical in front of goal and will get back to work tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs complete their two-game Arizona road trip on Sunday when they travel to Tempe to face the Sun Devils of Arizona State at 9 PM CT.
For the most up-to-date information on the Bulldogs, follow MSU women’s soccer on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and join them on Instagram by searching for “HailStateSoc.”
– HailState.com –