Tigers Open Up SEC Play With 3-1 Win Over Mississippi State
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Gabi Rivera scored in the 11th minute
Gabi Rivera scored in the 11th minute

Sept. 24, 2010

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AUBURN, Ala. - Mary Coffed scored in the 11th minute and the Auburn soccer team continued to dominate Mississippi State from there on out, claiming a 3-1 win in both team's Southeastern Conference opener. Auburn peppered the Mississippi State defense for a season-high-tying 33 shots as it improved to 7-2-0, 1-0-0 SEC.

"We are happy to get the result," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We always tell the team, with the SEC opener we are either going to be in first place tomorrow or in last place...Anytime you can score a goal early it gives us a lot of confidence. We actually played better after we scored the first goal, which helped us get the second goal."

Auburn, which has now won nine consecutive meetings over Mississippi State (7-3-0, 0-1-0 SEC), got on the board early when Coffed took an Ashley Marks feed on the end line and drove into the box before ripping a sharp-angle shot past Mississippi State goalkeeper Skylar Rosson, who made 12 saves on the night.

"I got the ball on the right flank and I was able to beat the defender and get end-line," Coffed said. "I was looking to serve it in the box and find another runner but I didn't see anyone so I cut it in and was able to put it in near-post."

Auburn wasted little time showing its assertiveness on offense after that as the team needed just 12 minutes until it scored its second goal. Katy Frierson, who has now registered a point in each of Auburn's wins this season, took on a Mississippi State defender 1v1 at the top of the 18, slid past her and rocketed in her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

"We were really looking to get on the board early and get some momentum going into Sunday," Frierson said. "Maddie Barnes did a great job going 1v1 on the defender and then served me at the top of the box. I took a first touch across the girl and then slotted it home."

Owning a 2-0 advantage at the half, Gabi Rivera put the game away for Auburn in the 79th minute when she and Frierson hooked up for the second straight match. This time it was Frierson sending a cross into Rivera inside the six, which Rivera settled before turning and firing past Rosson.

"Katy beat a player out wide and she saw me wide open in the box. I took a touch and shot it far post to beat the keeper," Rivera said. "This was a great win to start us off (in the SEC season) and get us ready for Ole Miss."

Mississippi State avoided the shutout when Elisabeth Sullivan scored from the top of the 18 in the 82nd minute, snapping Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard's scoreless streak at 261:47.

Mississippi State's goal also turned Frierson's goal into the game-winner, giving her four on the season and 11 for her career, which ties her with Sarah Steinmann for the school record. The junior sensation now has 19 career goals, 24 career assists and 62 career points. Of her 62 career points, 57 of them have come in Auburn wins.

Auburn returns to the field on Sunday at 4pm CT when it plays host to rival Ole Miss. The match will air live on ESPNU. Admission is free.

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