Southern Miss’ soccer team played their way to be co-champions of the Mississippi State Tournament on Sunday, Sept. 15., when the team tied with the Furman Paladins in the final match.
Southern Miss now has a 5-1-2 record, signifying they are well on their way to a better season than 2012 when the Golden Eagles went 4-12-1. Their only loss came in a heartbreaking overtime match against South Alabama on Sept. 9. Not only do the Eagles have a better season and a co-champion tournament title, but the Eagles boast a strong offense led by Danica Roberts.
Roberts was last week’s Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week and became the co-MVP of the Mississippi State Tournament. She also joined fellow USM players Brooke Hendrix and Brittany Taylor in being named to the All-Tournament team.
In the Sept. 13 match against Jackson State, Roberts recorded two goals on six shots. Her first goal was unassisted and from 25 yards out, and her second goal, assisted by Hendrix, was from 30 yards out. Roberts had 14 shots total in USM’s two matches, with two assists and two goals.
Though Sunday’s match against Furman resulted in a tie, first-year head coach Mohammed El-Zare was pleased with his team’s effort in that match.
“I’ll tell you what, that was a fun match to coach and a fun match to watch,” El-Zare said. “They were a great opponent for us as we prepare for conference play.”
Hendrix, Roberts and junior forward from Gautier, Miss., Ashley Johnson combined their efforts in the 65th minute to score the tying goal of the Furman match. Roberts passed to Hendrix, who sent the ball to Johnson. Johnson then kicked it into the top of the net near the far post, sending the match into a dramatic double-overtime tie.