OLE MISS

Rebels' Run Continues To the Second Round

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Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. 

No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2) advances to play No. 3-ranked Florida State (19-1-3) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night in Tallahassee.

"It's a building block for us," head coach Matt Mott said. "We're trying to take steps forward and get better every year, and this has been just an unbelievable year for us, and we want to keep it going. 

"We're setting a lot of records, but I'm really proud of the way the team plays. The leadership of our senior class has been unbelievable, and they have really propelled our program forward, so I'm very proud of them as a senior class. They don't want it to end, and we don't the season to end for them."

Senior Rafaelle Souza led the scoring barrage for the Rebels with a hat trick, as she became the school's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals over her three-year career at Ole Miss. 

Fellow seniors Mandy McCalla and Erin Emerson, as well as sophomores Bethany Bunker, Olivia Harrison, Jessica Hiskey and Sydney Eddy also found the back of the net in the win.

"It's awesome," said Souza of the record. "There's no way to describe how good it feels to be at the top of a good program like Ole Miss."

"It was a complete game for us," Mott said. "Certainly, we were good going forward. We got good goals and spread it around. I was happy with the intensity and the energy level. We were very good in the back. Our possession was fantastic and the key to our success moving the ball."

The Rebels are 2-3-2 against nationally-ranked teams, including a 2-2-1 record away from Oxford and 2-1-0 in true road games, with wins over No. 20 Georgia and No. 25 LSU. 

With the win, it marks the program's second appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, having lost 4-3 at Florida in double overtime during the 2003 season.

The Seminoles, one of four No. 1 seeds in the Field of 64, advanced to the second round with a 5-0 win over South Alabama Friday. They are 28-1-0 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament. Florida State also carries a 32-game (31-0-1) home unbeaten streak -- the longest active streak in the nation -- into Thursday's match.

"When I was at Auburn, I went down there three times, and when I was at Texas, we went once, so I'm very familiar with Tallahassee in the NCAA Tournament," Mott said. "They're a good team and possess the ball really well. They're the best-coached team in the country. Coach Krikorian is as good as there is, and they have a bunch of really good players. 

"I'm happy with where our team is. We'll go down there, be excited to play and play as hard as we can possibly can and try to get a result."

Friday night marked the first ever NCAA Tournament home match in program history, and it was another home game for the team's six-player senior classes. 

The 56:05 mark in the second half was a special moment, as three of the seniors -- Souza, Emerson and McCalla -- subbed out to a great applause in what could be their last respective games at the Ole Miss Soccer Complex.

"I have always told Matt (Mott) that I want to play in the NCAAs, so it was exciting to get here and play out there at least one time," Emerson said.

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