Conference play will continue for the Ole Miss soccer team tonight, as the Texas A&M Aggies travel to Oxford for a 7 p.m. matchup.
The Rebels’ first two SEC matches were tests against top-25 teams Tennessee and Auburn. But the No. 5 Aggies might be the biggest challenge of the gauntlet yet for Ole Miss. The Aggies dropped from their No. 2 ranking after their only loss of the season at Arkansas last Thursday. This defeat snapped a school-record, 25-match unbeaten streak and a 10-game win streak.
The Aggies will come into Oxford behind junior forward Ally Watt, who has eight goals this season, and senior defender Kendall Ritchie, who has seven assists. Texas A&M thrives on the set piece on the offensive side of the ball — the team’s last four goals have each been the result of a free kick or a corner.
Along with the Aggies’ strong attack, CeCe Kizer and the Rebels will face a suffocating defense that has allowed only five opposition goals all year. The Texas A&M goalkeeper, Cosette Morche, has 17 clean sheets during her time in College Station, including nine this year.
The Rebels made a statement this past Sunday by giving No. 9 Auburn its first loss of the season. Sophomore Channing Foster scored the Rebels’ first goal; then, Kizer took over the game, scoring two goals in the second half. Kizer’s first goal came within the first seconds of the second half, and her second goal was an absolute feat in the 77th minute, as Kizer weaved through the entire Auburn defense to score.
“She dribbled 70 yards and scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in soccer,” head coach Matt Mott said during a Monday press conference. “She beat five of their defenders and crushed it in the back of the net to get us up 3-2.”
With her performance against the Tigers, Kizer planted her name in the Ole Miss record books as the program’s all-time leader in goals (46) and points (110). Her final goal of the night was also her 13th game-winning goal for Ole Miss.
The Rebels will use their momentum and Kizer’s record-breaking performances to continue to climb the SEC rankings. Ole Miss is currently in a six-way tie for second place in the conference, with a 8-4-0 overall record (2-1-0 in SEC). With a win over Texas A&M at home, the Rebels — who only have six matches left in the regular season — can put themselves in a great position, leading up to the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama.