Amidst all the heat and humidity Mississippi had to offer, Ole Miss, now No. 24, defeated the LSU Tigers on Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-1.
After a tough SEC loss against No. 21 Tennessee on Thursday night, Ole Miss hoped to regain some momentum with a win against its interstate rivals, the Tigers. The Rebels got just that.
“I was happy to get another four goals this weekend,” head coach Matt Mott said. “I thought that was a really big key to the game, which is encouraging as we continue on against this tough SEC league.”
The game started off slowly until Ole Miss found its groove. Freshman Molly Martin found the net for the Rebels with 1 minute left in the first half. Lofting the ball right over LSU’s goalie and into the net, Martin’s goal was her third of the season. Senior Bella Fiorenzo supplied the accompanying assist.
“That was a huge goal for us,” Mott said. “To go into the locker room with a goal and know that we worked hard to get that was important.”
With momentum on its side heading into the half, Ole Miss grabbed the game early on in the second and, aside from a brief hiccup, never let go. Freshman Channing Foster scored minutes into the half to double the Rebels’ lead against the Tigers. The tally marked her 12th goal of the season.
“We kept the ball really central, and second half, we used the whole field, which really opened things up for us and made a difference,” Foster said.
Midway through the second half, LSU finally put itself on the board, courtesy of a goal from Alex Thomas. Her goal kept the Tigers within striking distance, but the comeback effort ultimately fizzled out. LSU managed just two shots on goal after Thomas’ strike, both of which Rebel goalkeeper Marnie Merritt handled easily.
The Ole Miss offense soon took over again. Junior CeCe Kizer, who entered Sunday’s match tied with Foster for most goals among SEC players, found the net twice in the remaining minutes of the match, elevating her goal total to 13. Gabby Little and Mary Kate Smith supplied this assists this time around.
“I said at the beginning of the year I wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself and just focus on the team,” Kizer said. “It’s always great scoring goals and being successful, but having the team be successful is the most important thing to me.”
Kizer’s two-goal performance boosted her straight to the top of the SEC individual goals leaderboard. Her teammate Foster checks in at No. 2, and Tennessee’s Khadija Shaw sits at fourth. Foster and Kizer, it seems, comprise the deadliest attacking duo in the SEC.
“We click really well together,” Foster said about her on-field chemistry with Kizer. “We’ve gotten to where we know what to expect from each other.”
Ole Miss will hit the road again, headed to College Station for a weekend matchup with Texas A&M. The No. 19 Aggies defeated SEC opponents Florida, Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama but dropped their match Auburn. It will not be easy for the Rebels to walk away with a win.
“We know it’s so tough playing in Aggieland,” Kizer said. “Coming together in practice and putting our minds to team defense is a huge thing because they have a really fast offense.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night.