The Ole Miss soccer team’s struggles on offense continued as they fell 2-0 to Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama. Wednesday afternoon. The loss marked the first time all season that the Rebels lost consecutive games.
“I just don’t think we were clean enough today,” Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott said. “We really couldn’t get any rhythm. We were fortunate to get to halftime at 0-0. We were never good enough in front of goal.”
The Rebel offense was shut out for the second straight game. They were unable to find any sort of rhythm and made numerous turnovers in the midfield. Texas A&M outshot the Rebels 19-7 and had 10 shots on target to the Rebels’ one.
Freshman forward Ally Watt had caused the Ole Miss defense problems throughout the match, and she finally broke through in the 75th minute. She ran into the left side of the box and her shot from a tight angle got past redshirt freshman goalkeeper Marnie Merritt and into the left side of the net.
Freshman forward Emily Bates extended the Aggie lead to 2-0 in the 81st minute when she beat two Rebel defenders, cut inside, and took a shot with her left foot that curled past Merritt and into the right side of the net.
The first half was evenly matched, but Texas A&M had better chances to score. They had four shots through the first 10 minutes, but Merritt made important saves to keep the Aggies off the scoreboard.
The Rebels’ best first half chance to score came in the 29th minute, when a loose ball fell to junior forward Gretchen Harknett in the box and she hit it off the post.
Freshman forward CeCe Kizer had a chance to cut into the lead with seven minutes remaining, but her shot sailed well over the crossbar and never troubled Aggie junior goalkeeper Danielle Rice.
With the loss, the Rebels were likely eliminated from contention to host a regional in the NCAA tournament, but they will still earn an at-large bid. Their RPI before the match was 23, and they have a number of good wins on the season and no bad losses.
“Whoever we play in the NCAA tournament, if we pass the ball that poorly again we’re going to be one and done,” Mott said. “We’ve got to get ourselves cleaner and sharper and ready to play. There’s only 64 teams so we’re going to play somebody good, and we have to get ourselves ready for whoever that may be.”
The Rebels will find out their opponent Monday, with the selection show scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.