Mississippi Gulf Coast pushed a tough Daytona State team, leading three different times before falling 5-3 in Milledgeville, Ga. It was the season opener for the Bulldogs men's soccer team.
"I thought we did well," Gulf Coast assistant coach Patrick Harrison said. "They're No. 8 in the nation, and we toe to toe with them for probably 70 minutes. Their quality came through in the end."
Harrison was in charge for the game while head coach Chris Handy is attending his father's funeral.
Gulf Coast's Dante Dismuke (Fr., St. Martin/St. Martin) scored first, assisted by C.J. Smith (So., Brampton Ontario/David Suzuki Secondary School). After Daytona State (1-0-1) equalized, Tylor Davis (So., Gulfport/West Harrison) set up Griffin Bush (Fr., Pearl/Pearl) for a 2-1 lead.
Noah Spear (Fr., Brookhaven/Brookhaven) broke a 2-2 tie before halftime after an assist from Chris Pasvantis (So., Ocean Springs/Ocean Springs) to give the Bulldogs the lead at the break.
"It was back and forth," Harrison said. "It was a good battle the first half. We were able to learn a few things about our team, which is why we play these big teams. It's to see what kind of weaknesses we have so we can address them before we start our conference."
Daytona State tied the game again shortly after halftime, then added two more to secure the win.
Gulf Coast returns to action Sunday when it plays No. 13 Georgia Military, which is hosting the weekend's action. Kickoff is at noon Central.
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