After posting an undefeated record and breaking into the national rankings through the first four weeks of the season, No. 22 Ole Miss opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a pair of home matches against Arkansas and No. 10 Texas A&M.
The Lady Rebels will take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m. Friday before closing out the weekend against the 10th-ranked Aggies of Texas A&M at 1 p.m. Sunday. All matches are played at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium and admission is free.
“Arkansas has a new coach and is very well organized; they play very hard,” Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott said. “They are tough defensively and will be a difficult task for us. Texas A&M comes into the weekend ranked in the top 15 nationally. They are a tough team with very good athletes. They are playing very well right now.
“We’re excited to start SEC play,” Mott said. “We’re 7-0 on the season, but it’s a new season starting with conference play. We’ve had great crowds and support and really hope the Rebel Nation will continue to come out and support us with great support and be vocal as a part of a big football weekend.”
The Lady Rebels open the weekend against Arkansas on Friday night, looking to set the mark for the best start to a season in school history. At 7-0, the 2012 squad is tied with the 2003 team for the best start in school history. A win on Friday night would break that record.
The Razorbacks enter the weekend coming off a 1-0 loss to top-ranked Florida State last weekend. Arkansas has received goals from four different players on the season and played several tight contests on the year.
Texas A&M enters the weekend ranked in the top 15 nationally and posted a shutout of No. 16 Long Beach State this past weekend. Newcomers to the Southeastern Conference this season, the Aggies hit the road for the first weekend of conference play and will face LSU on Friday night before coming to Oxford on Sunday.
Seven different Aggies have scored this season, including four goals each from Annie Kunz and Kelley Monogue.
Ole Miss looks to meet the challenge of the Razorbacks and Aggies with a balanced attack of its own. The Lady Rebels have seen nine players score goals on the season and gotten assists from 11 players as Ole Miss has outscored opponents 24-to-3 through the first seven games.
Leading the way offensively are two of the top scorers in the conference with juniors Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. The pair of forwards have scored seven goals each, while McCalla has added three assists and Souza has come up with a pair of assists.
The Lady Rebel back line has also been solid through the first four weeks of play, allowing only 59 shots and limiting opponents to the only three goals as sophomore goal keeper Kelly McCormick has helped anchor the defense. Ole Miss has posted four shutouts on the season, earning McCormick SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors twice this season. (September 13, 2012, Page 9)