It was a mixed bag of sorts for the Ole Miss women’s soccer team this weekend. On Friday, Head Coach Matt Mott traveled with his team down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face off against a dangerous Louisiana State University team. After a strong start from the Rebels that included several chances on goal, it would be LSU who would strike first off a penalty kick late in the first half. The second half was even less forgiving as the Rebels gave up two more goals, one off another penalty kick and another off a corner, to make it 3-0. After the loss, Mott said he felt that certain aspects of the game were out of his team’s control.
“We walked away from the game thinking that wasn’t a 3-0 game if you look at the game in between the 18-yard boxes. But that is soccer sometimes and it was certainly painful,” Mott said.
That was not the end of the weekend for Ole Miss, however, as they traveled north to play Tulsa on Sunday night. At first glance, it appeared the Rebels were about to fall into the same hole they fell into on Friday. They conceded an early goal just 10 minutes in and for the second time in 3 days, went into halftime down 1-0. Mott knew what he had to do.
“We went into halftime and I challenged them. I challenged the seniors and talked about what it meant to be an Ole Miss Rebel and to wear the jersey,” Mott said. “We haven’t really been down that road this year, and they came out and responded.”
On the backs of Gretchen Harknett and Addie Forbus, who scored her 30th career goal on Sunday, the Rebels roared back and captured a crucial 2-1 victory. After the game, Mott was clearly proud of his side’s performance.
“Gretchen Harknett had a great goal,” Mott said. “Addie Forbus came out 10 minutes later and scored one off the post and in. We had some great performances. CeCe Kizer was excellent. Liza Harbin was great. Courtney Carroll played well. Alley Houghton, our local player from Lafayette High School played a bunch of minutes for us, and she was coming on really strong at a good time for us. There were a couple of really good freshman performances. Grace Waugh is playing on the back line for us… The girls felt really good about the performance last night. They come back on the road on a Sunday night, which is hard to do when you played on the road on Friday, and I’m proud of how they responded.”
The Rebels now look forward to their Thursday night matchup against one of the best Mississippi State teams in history. With threats all over the field, Mott said he looks forward to the challenge.
“This is one of the biggest games of the year for us with Mississippi State coming into town,” Mott said. “They are having the best year they have had since I have been here. They are very dangerous. They have one of the best players in the league in Mallory Eubanks. She is dangerous. They have a center-back in the back that can kick the ball about 60 or 70 yards and can throw it just as far. She is a big, strong player that we will need to be prepared for. They score a lot of goals. They are very well coached and I expect it to be a great game.”
With their loss against LSU in the past and their triumph over Tulsa still fresh in their minds, the Ole Miss women’s soccer team has a big week ahead of them.
The Rebels and Bulldogs will face off at 6 p.m. Thursday at home.