The Ole Miss soccer team returns home on Thursday to face a solid Alabama squad after a disappointing loss at Georgia.
In this week’s matchup, both squads hold an 8-4-2 overall record. However, this upcoming battle is key for the Rebs to stack up at least two more wins in SEC play to qualify for the SEC Tournament, “The Beach,” this November.
The Crimson Tide earned its first SEC shutout against LSU this past Sunday in Tuscaloosa with a score of 3-0. This victory marks their third conference win.
Alabama’s goalkeeper AJ Crooks was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday. Her ability to collect saves will be key in the Tide’s defense this week.
Last week, the Rebels (8-4-2) defeated top-dog Florida after Molly Martin scored the winning goal with only 14 minutes left on the clock.
“Massive result for us,” head coach Matt Mott said in a press conference on Monday. “They are ranked in the top 25 and their RPI was 11 going into the game, so it was a big-time win for us and our resume.”
Three days later, the Ole Miss soccer team landed in Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs, however, the result was not what they wanted. The Bulldogs defeated the Rebels with a close score of 2-1.
Earlier in the season, Mott expressed the need to finish chances. His concerns are no different six games into conference play.
“You have to have a good first touch, and you have to finish all the way through with consistency and tempo,” Mott said. “And at times, we just don’t have that in front of goal, so we have to find some more consistency in our ball striking. If we can do that, we are going to finish some more of these chances off.”
Alabama holds the No. 5 spot in SEC standings while Ole Miss holds the eighth. The only difference is the conference records.
“They are sitting at 10 points. We are sitting at eight points (in SEC play),” Mott said. “It’s a big, big game for seeding and trying to get to The Beach.”
In 2018, these two stout teams battled ferociously in Tuscaloosa. After Ole Miss scored seconds before the clock ran out in the first half, the Rebels kept a strong defensive shape in the second half and were able to hold their lead until the final whistle was blown.
First whistle will be blown at 6 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.