The 8-4-1 Ole Miss Rebels take on the 4-6-2 Missouri Tigers in their fifth SEC game of the season on Thursday night in Columbia. The Rebels are in the middle of a good run following a brief two-game skid against Memphis and Tennessee.
Since those two losses, the Rebels have beaten Auburn, who was No. 9 in the nation at the time, and forced a draw against No. 5 Texas A&M last Friday. These results have helped Ole Miss claim the sixth spot in the SEC and second in the western division, with seven points.
This success can be attributed to the balanced style of play the Rebels have utilized recently. The defense has stepped up during the last two games, holding Auburn to nine total shots after the Tigers put up a 25-shot effort against LSU.
Ole Miss had another good showing against Texas A&M, conceding just a single goal during the game. This is made more impressive by the facts that Auburn is second in the nation in overall goals scored and Texas A&M is tied for third.
Goalkeeper Marnie Merritt’s key defensive performance has been a huge part of the the team’s recent success. Merritt made nine saves in the game against A&M to keep her team in the game, including a last-second save as time expired to secure the draw. Merritt has 19 saves in her last three games combined and currently has a .717 save percentage this season.
Although the offense has slowed down from its blazing start, the Rebels are scoring goals at crucial moments in games, which has produced positive results. The team’s 31 goals place Ole Miss third in the SEC and tied for ninth in the nation.
All-time goal scoring leader CeCe Kizer continues to be the key offensive player for Ole Miss. Her 11 goals lead the team and the SEC and have her tied for third in the country for overall goals scored. The senior is also tied with junior Gabby Little and sophomore Grace Johnson for the most assists on the team, with four so far this season.
The team will look to extend its streak of good results in SEC play to improve in conference standings. The offense is in for a physical contest against Missouri but should be able to score for the third straight game against a Tiger defense that has only produced one clean sheet in its last four matches.
After the game against Missouri, Ole Miss will face the Arkansas Razorbacks at home on Sunday, before traveling to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers on Thursday.