August 6, 2011 9:58:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State soccer team worked diligently on fitness during the offseason, and that hard work paid off as the squad opened the preseason with a pair of spirited workouts Saturday at the MSU Soccer Field.
Battling a stifling heat, the Dawgs played a Maroon-White scrimmage during the morning workout. The Maroon team edged out a 1-0 victory behind a header from freshman Shannen Jainudeen.
Despite the stifling temperatures, the intensity did not waiver in the afternoon as the Dawgs worked in short-sided situations. Clouds rolled in for the final moments of the afternoon session, and the opening day wrapped up just as thunder and lightning moved into the area.
"I felt that we got more accomplished on the first day than we ever have, and a lot of that is attributed to the fact that our team has come in fit," MSU coach Neil Macdonald said. "The Maroon-White game was a very good game that was played at a very high tempo. Our team was very aggressive today, and there was a lot of talk and organization from the upperclassmen which was good to see."
MSU will return to the pitch to day to continue preparations for the season-opening exhibition match against Samford at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at the MSU Soccer Field.
Sixteen letterwinners, including nine starters from a year ago, joined four newcomers for Saturday''s workouts.