The Rebels head down to Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday to face the Troy Trojans and the South Alabama Jaguars in the Jaguar Classic. The 3-1 Rebels will play the Trojans on Thursday, and the Jaguars on Sunday.
Ole Miss started the season blazing-hot, scoring almost at will, with 14 goals in the first four games. The Rebels have done this while also being a wall on defense, with three clean sheets and only two goals allowed, to this point.
The 1-3 Trojans are entering the Jaguar Classic on a three-game losing streak. Good teams sometimes overlook opponents that are struggling, but Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott doesn’t think that will be an issue on Thursday.
“I think we’re a really mature team, and we really work hard to approach every team the exact same (way),” Mott said. “Our goal is always to start every game fast and attack teams. I don’t think our team gets caught up in any kind of stats about our opponent.”
The offense will look to continue the fast start this week against the Trojans, who have allowed 13 goals in their first four games.
Senior CeCe Kizer, who was the Rebels’ top scorer in 2017 with 16 goals, has continued to put the ball in the back of the net at an exceptional rate this season, with five goals in four games. Kizer’s five goals currently have her tied for No. 1 scorer in the NCAA.
Last year’s freshman phenom Channing Foster got off the mark with a fantastic strike from a distance in the Rebels’ last game versus Murray State. The sophomore finished with 13 goals last season.
While the offense is undeniably strong right now, the defense has been impressive, as well. Goalie Marnie Merritt’s goals against average sits at .480 as of Saturday’s game, which could get even lower with a couple of good performances over the weekend.
The Rebels follow up the game against Troy by playing against the host school, South Alabama, on Sunday.
The South Alabama Jaguars currently hold a 2-1 record with wins against UAB and Chattanooga and their lone loss at the hands of Mississippi State. The Rebels won this matchup last season, 1-0. However, coach Mott isn’t putting much emphasis on the result from a year ago.
“We have looked at that (game) a little bit,” Mott said. “But now you’re looking at a full year (later) and different teams, so we don’t take a lot of stock in that.”
These two games kick off a five-game road trip for the Rebels, and with fatigue being a potential factor on the latter half of that stretch, the team can expect some squad rotation in these first two games.
“Traveling on the road does take some out of you,” Mott said. “We’ve got a very deep bench. We’re going to absolutely use it, so I think you can expect a number of players to get a number of minutes.”