The Ole Miss soccer team’s SEC Tournament run came up short with a tough loss to the No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks in the quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Top-seeded Arkansas (15-2-2) notched the deciding goal in the 24th minute when Madison Smith was called for handling in the penalty box. Taylor Malham put the penalty kick in the back of the net past Ashley Orkus, who made only two saves in the match.
Coming off a dramatic 2-1 win over Mississippi State, the Rebels (10-7-3) entered the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament with a lot of momentum, but the Razorback defense did not give the Rebels any quality chances in the remaining minutes of the first half. As a result, the score remained 1-0, and both teams headed in for halftime.
Ole Miss gave Arkansas a struggle in the second half with a couple of chances, one of which came in the 56th minute when Gabby Little nearly found Channing Foster in the 18-yard box.
Arkansas goalkeeper Katie Lund slid to collect the ball before Foster had a chance to capitalize. Lund recorded six saves in the match.
Little once again had the opportunity to equalize in the 81st minute as Ole Miss countered off a Razorback corner, but Lund denied Little again.
The Rebels failed to produce a goal despite having multiple chances throughout the second half of the match. Arkansas was able to fend off a barrage of late-game desperation shots to eliminate the Rebels from the tournament.
“I thought we really had a great performance,” head coach Matt Mott said after the loss. “I thought we had a couple of real good looks on the match and just couldn’t find the back of the net. I’m really happy with the team and the performance. The work we did down here was really strong for us for sure, and hopefully we get a chance to continue on.”
After their thrilling win in the opening round against Mississippi State and a close loss to the top-seeded Razorbacks, Ole Miss holds a spot on the bubble in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels held a No. 48 RPI ranking after the Mississippi State game and the loss to Arkansas is not likely to hurt their resume with the Razorbacks ranked No. 5 in the RPI.
The Rebels will wait to see if they qualify for the NCAA Tournament on Monday, with the
NCAA Selection Show at 3:30 p.m. The NCAA Tournament begins on Nov. 15 and runs through the beginning of the College Cup, which is Dec. 6-8 in Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.