Ole Miss soccer will kick off its spring season with a match-up against the Samford Bulldogs at home on Thursday night. The program announced its spring schedule at the beginning of February, with eight non-conference games originally slated. Recently, though, the Rebels added a Sunday Derby match for Feb. 28 against the Memphis Tigers, totaling the non-conference schedule to nine games.
The program also announced its spring fan attendance policy with a limited 25% capacity. Similar to the fall season policies, seats are not open to the general public, but after guest lists from teams are received, remaining seats will be given to members of the Ole Miss Kicker Club and the Rebel Rewards app. Face coverings are also required at all times unless actively eating or drinking.
The Rebels finished the regular fall season with a 4-5 overall record, losing their final battle in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Nov. 15 against the LSU Tigers 2-1 in a heartbreaking overtime loss. Ole Miss finished the conference with an even four wins and four losses and will take on three SEC opponents during the spring that will not be added to the league’s record. The Rebels will also take on teams such as the Georgia Bulldogs, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Georgia Southern Eagles during this season.
On Thursday, the Samford Bulldogs will head to Oxford for a non-conference game against the Rebels. The Bulldogs didn’t play a single game during the 2020 season, but they finished the regular 2019 fall season with an overall record of 13-4-5. Samford opened up its 2021 spring season against the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Feb. 18 with a tied match (1-1) in two overtime periods.
One game leader for the Rebels is senior goal-scorer Channing Foster, who sits with 33 total goals and three goals scored during the fall season. The Kentucky native was also drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in January but decided to use her extra year of eligibility for another season at Ole Miss.
Another notable leader on the squad is senior forward Madisyn Pezzino who also scored three goals in the fall and has totaled nine career goals. The New York native received SEC Player of the Week after her performance during the Georgia game and also scored the only goal during the final match of the season against LSU at the SEC Tournament. Sophomore Mo O’Connor and junior Haleigh Stackpole are also offensive weapons to focus on.
In the back of the net, 2020 SEC Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-SEC honoree Ashley Orkus handles business for the Rebels as she earned two assists in the 2020 season and stands at second in the SEC with a career total of 54 saves. Her game-high of saves came from the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, totaling in at nine.
The Rebels will host the Bulldogs at 6 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. The game will air live on the SEC Network+.