In its last regular-season game at home, the No. 25 Ole Miss women’s soccer team will play a fierce conference competitor, the No. 21 Alabama Crimson Tide, tonight.
Coming off two consecutive draws, the Rebels are looking to add one more win to their conference and overall record to boost their confidence before the postseason. With more ties than wins in conference games this season, head coach Matt Mott said the previous games that ended in ties against Auburn and Mississippi State last week were “good ties.”
“There are good ties, and there are bad ties,” Mott said Monday night. “It was a good tie for us on Thursday night (against Auburn), playing down a man for 47 minutes. That’s a good tie.”
Late in the second half, a shot on goal by Auburn that landed in the net was determined illegitimate by an assistant referee’s flag calling offsides on the Tigers. The call wiped away the would-be goal and gave way to the Rebels draw. Add into the mix that Ella Johnson received a red card, and a tie for Ole Miss was definitely a pleasantly surprising outcome.
When the Rebels faced their in-state rival in Starkville on Sunday, the same fate awaited them. The game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs ended in a draw and allowed Ole Miss to keep the Magnolia Cup in Oxford for another year.
“Last night, pouring rain, at your rival, if you get a point, you’re in the postseason and you keep the Magnolia Cup. That’s also a good tie,” Mott said.
Despite playing 220 total minutes last weekend alone, Mott is optimistic about where his team stands going into the game against Alabama and is hoping to get a victory.
“Alabama is a really good team and one we have to be prepared for,” Mott said. “I like where our team is. They are playing really well, and I’m excited to be back home for senior night.”
Alabama, who is 3-5-1 in conference and coming off three consecutive wins, lost to Ole Miss when they played last year in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels also lead the all-time series at 16-7 and have dominated lately, with wins in 11 of the last 12 meetings.
Both Ole Miss and Alabama have lost to the same teams in conference play: Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. With an even playing field for tomorrow night, the matchup will be tough for both sides.
Kickoff for the game against the Crimson Tide is set for 7 p.m., and the four senior Rebels will be celebrated for their accomplishments and then work to grind out a victory. Over the past four years, seniors Courtney Carroll, Bella Fiorenzo, Danielle Gray and Liza Harbin boast an overall record of 41-26-12 and have never lost to Auburn, Alabama or Mississippi State. They will hope to keep that streak alive tonight.
“They have meant a whole lot to this program, and we need to send them out the right way,” Mott said.