Despite a combined 31 shots on the night, a single goal ultimately doomed Rebel soccer (10-4-1, 3-4 SEC) as the ladies fell 1-0 to Texas A&M (11-2-1, 6-1 SEC) on Friday.
The loss, which dropped Ole Miss to 2-3 on the road in 2017, came despite the defense’s best efforts. Junior shot-stopper Marnie Merritt collected 10 saves against A&M, surpassing her previous record of eight set against the Aggies in 2015. Previously this season, Merritt had never been called upon to stop more than three shots.
Throughout the first half, both teams remained hesitant, gradually testing their opponent’s waters. A&M fired off eight shots in the first to the Rebels’ six, but the best chance of the half belonged to Ole Miss. Sophomore forward Gabby Little found herself alone in the Aggies’ box, but she failed to convert her free header. That would be the story for most of Friday night.
Junior CeCe Kizer, who led the SEC entering Friday’s match with 15 goals, nearly found the net midway through the game, but her effort skewed wide at the last minute. Ole Miss seemingly could not catch a break.
Tragedy struck for the Rebels late in the second half as Aggie senior Mikaela Harvey picked her head up in the middle of the pitch and drove forward. Looking off passes to streaking teammates, Harvey took the ball down the right channel toward the penalty box. After shrugging off a defender, the midfielder struck a laser into the right upper-90 for the lead. Harvey’s goal stood as the difference in front of dozens of A&M soccer alumni, there for the Aggies’ Silver Season Celebration.
When the final whistle blew Friday night, the teams had amassed a staggering 31 combined shots. The Rebels contributed 15 attempts, but despite the barrage, Texas A&M goalkeeper Cosette Morché stood firm and earned the clean sheet. Morché did well to collect four Rebel corner kicks, as well.
A&M has now won seven consecutive games, while the Rebels lost their fourth match of the year. Ole Miss has struggled on the road, earning 75 percent of its losses away from Oxford.
After consecutive four-goal performances, including a 4-1 victory over Louisiana State University less than a week prior, Ole Miss dropped to 1-3 in SEC play after the Aggies found space and time in the box to bury a shot into the upper corner.
Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott and his team now turn their attention to Thursday’s home match against Auburn. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.