Ole Miss soccer defeats Arkansas on Sunday in spite of Merritt injury

Posted on Oct 8 2018 - 5:50am by Chance Robertson

The Ole Miss Rebels came out like a team on a mission against the Arkansas Razorbacks, putting Arkansas players on their heels for much of Sunday’s contest. The strong performance resulted in a convincing 3-1 win to make Rebel soccer 3-2-1 in SEC play.

The victory comes off of a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Missouri on Thursday night. The Tigers scored a game-winning goal in the final minutes of regulation, sending the Rebels home empty-handed.

CeCe Kizer runs the ball during this season’s game versus Texas A&M. Ole Miss and Texas tied the game 1-1. Photo by Christian Johnson

Sunday’s game against the Razorbacks did not begin ideally for the Rebels. Goalkeeper Marnie Merritt had to be substituted following an injury in the 7th minute. Merritt’s injury forced head coach Matt Mott to turn to freshman Morgan McAslan to take over for the veteran goalkeeper.

McAslan made a huge one-on-one save in the 26th minute to keep the game scoreless, and this would be the first of her two saves in the game. The freshman was put into a difficult situation replacing the injured Merritt, but she made the most of the opportunity catching cross after cross and taking full control of the box. Ignoring the nerves, she was able to get a good result in her SEC debut and help the team see the game out.

“I was trying to feel confident when I walked out onto the field, to know (that) I’ve done everything I can so just get out there and do my best and do it for Marnie,” McAslan said.

The Rebels would score first off of a Lonnie Mulligan strike from outside the box with 13 minutes left in the half following an excellent Ole Miss counter-attack. The ball struck the crossbar before bouncing and crossing the line to give the Rebels the lead. Kizer and Ella Frischknecht assisted the goal, which was Kizer’s fifth and Frischknecht’s first assist this season.

Kizer and Channing Foster kicked off the second half with a goal just five minutes into the second frame. Kizer found Foster on a perfectly placed through ball, and Foster would effortlessly slot it just inside the near post to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead. The Rebels struggled to put the ball in the back of the net against Missouri three days prior, but that wasn’t the case in Sunday’s game.

“We worked the other day (in practice) on taking control and putting the ball in the back of the net whenever you have a chance, so today we were a lot more clinical in front of goal and it definitely paid off,” Foster said.

Kizer would put the nail in the coffin of Arkansas’ comeback effort with a goal with six minutes remaining in the game for her 12th goal of the season. Kizer said the team impressively rallied around Merritt following the injury.

Junior Marnie Merritt is the goalie for the Ole Miss women’s soccer team. Photo by Marlee Crawford

“She’s done so much for every single person on this team, and we owed her the win,” Kizer said.

Matt Mott was unable to say how long Merritt would be out, but said she will have an MRI on Monday. Mott said he was impressed with the freshman McAslan’s SEC debut.

“She knows how to do the job, and I thought she was great, she handled everything thrown at her,” Mott said.

Ole Miss came into the Arkansas game following a frustrating defeat at Missouri on Thursday. The 2-1 result was the Rebels first SEC loss on the road this season.

Ole Miss will face LSU on Thursday in Baton Rouge before again going on the road to face the Kentucky Wildcats the following week.