The Ole Miss soccer team will have a challenge at 6 p.m. Thursday as the No. 19
Tennessee Volunteers come to Oxford for the second conference match of the season for both the Rebels and the Volunteers.
The 6-1-1 Volunteers dropped in the rankings after a 2-0 loss to No. 13 South Carolina in
their SEC opener and will try to get back on track at Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. The 7-3 Rebels are also hoping to get back to their winning ways after being shut out for the first time this season by Memphis over the weekend.
Head coach Matt Mott and the Rebels look forward to the opportunity to gain some
momentum with an upset over a tough team as they head into the meat of conference play. However, the Ole Miss back line will have its hands full trying to contain a Tennessee
attack that averages 2.25 goals per game on 18.9 shots per game.
“They are very good, very talented, very dangerous up front,” Mott said. “We have to be
very good defensively.”
The Rebels opened SEC play with a grinding win over Alabama on Thursday. The
game-winning goal came just before halftime off of a corner kick from Madison Smith to Grace
Johnson. Johnson’s header found Molly Martin, who was able to put the ball in the back of the net.
The Rebels and goalkeeper Marnie Merritt fought hard to fend off an Alabama attack that produced 13 shots in the second half. The Ole Miss win was big in terms of improving team morale as the Rebels head into SEC play.
The team’s performance on Sunday against the Memphis Tigers in Oxford was not as impressive. Ole Miss failed to score a goal for the first time this season, which comes as a surprise with a prolific scorer like CeCe Kizer leading the team.
After conceding the first goal at home this season in the third minute of the game, the
Rebels were unable able to recover and fell 0-2 to the Tigers.
“We have been very good in possession, and last night, we were not,” Mott said. “I think
our energy level was not where it needed to be, and I take responsibility for that.”
The schedule will only get more challenging after the match on Thursday, as the Rebels will travel to Auburn to face the undefeated, No. 11 Tigers on Sunday. The two upcoming games will be huge for Ole Miss, as they will give the Rebels the opportunity to show that they belong with the top teams in the SEC.
The Rebels will look to seniors Kizer and Merritt to help fight their way to the SEC Tournament this October in Orange Beach, Alabama.