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Ole Miss Head Soccer Coach Preview's Thursday's Regular Season Finale
In just seven seasons as the leader of Ole Miss soccer, Matthew Mott has placed the program not only on a level of consistency with the Southeastern Conference, but also a respectable recognition across the country.
Prior to Mott’s arrival as the second coach in program history ahead of the 2010 season, the Rebels had advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times. Since, Mott has carried the team into the NCAA Championships twice.
In Mott’s seventh year as head coach in 2016, the Rebels finished 9-11 overall and 4-7 in SEC play, qualifying for the SEC Tournament for the 17th time in school history. Ole Miss maintained possession of the Magnolia Cup for the third year in a row, earning a 3-0 shutout over Mississippi State. The team also picked up SEC wins over Kentucky, Alabama and Texas A&M.
The 2016 senior class rounded out their careers having never lost to Alabama, Auburn or Mississippi State, and posted 46 wins within a four-year span. Two of those seniors – Melissa Capocaccia and Gretchen Harknett – earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Team honors, while Harknett was also an All-SEC Second Team selection.
In 2015, the Rebels advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history and achieved their highest-ever national ranking in school history of No. 12 midway through the season. Following the campaign, the Rebels finished No. 16 in the postseason poll, the best finish for the program in school history.
The 2015 campaign saw Ole Miss knock off back-to-back top-10 opponents, which helped surge the team to the best rank ever of No. 12. Following a 1-0 victory in just the second-ever home NCAA Championship match, the Rebels went on to advance past No. 7 Clemson in penalty kicks in the second round of the NCAA Championships, setting up the All-SEC Sweet 16 showdown with No. 21 Texas A&M.
Mott led three All-SEC honorees, including CeCe Kizer, who became Ole Miss’ first SEC Freshman of the year since 2005, along with junior Addie Forbus and Jessica Hiskey. The same trio earned NSCAA All-South Region honors. Forbus and Hiskey were also named CoSIDA Academic All-America honorees following the season, while outgoing senior Maddie Friedmann was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection.
Under Mott’s guidance, the Rebels tallied nine shutouts, including the two versus No. 10 Auburn and No. 10 South Carolina. The 14 wins tied for the third-most in school history, while the seven SEC victories tied for the second-most in school history.
After being picked 10th in the SEC Preseason Poll, Mott led the program to a third-place finish in the league. A record 11,087 fans showed up in attendance at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium in 2015, also a record for the program, which ranked top-25 nationally.
Just two years prior, the Rebels posted a 16-win season, marking the most wins in a season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss also hosted its first NCAA Tournament match in school history, defeating Jackson State 9-0 in the opening-round game.
Mott was named the NSCAA South Region Coach of the Year for his efforts in guiding Ole Miss to the record-setting season.
On the way to the 16-6-2 record, the Rebels scored a school-record 63 goals and produced a pair of All-SEC and All-Region selections in Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. Gretchen Harknett also became the first All-Freshman selection since 2010. Souza was also named a first team All-America selection by the NSCAA.
Souza was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second straight season and earned Capital One Academic All-America honors.
In his third season at the helm of the program, Mott continued to move the program forward with a return to the SEC Tournament as Ole Miss made its first tournament appearance since 2009 and advanced to the quarterfinals with a shutout victory over LSU in the opening round. The shutout victory was one of eight for the Rebels on the season.
The squad posted an 8-0 start to the season, the best in program history, and included a stretch of four consecutive shutout wins and 483 minutes of shutout soccer to also set a school record for consecutive shutout minutes by the Rebels.
Juniors McCalla and Souza garnered recognition for their efforts on the field as the duo tied for the league lead in goals (13), assists (7) and points (33) on the way to All-SEC accolades. Souza was named a 2013 NCAA Women's Division I All-South Team selection, while McCalla was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and a Third Team All-America selection by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
Souza was also named the SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year and a Capital One Academic All-District Selection.
During his second season at the helm in 2011, several of Mott's players earned both athletic and academic honors. Three players earned All-SEC honors (Meredith Snow, Dylan Jordan and Alix Hildal) while Hildal was also named to the 2011 NCAA Women's Division I All-South Team.
Academically, Jordan was named a Capital One Third Team Academic All-America by CoSIDA, while Jenna Strother was a Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for the University of Mississippi. As a team, the Rebels earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2010-11 academic year for a team GPA above 3.0.
In 2011, Mott's team saw improvement from the 2010 season as the team finished the year winning its final three SEC games of the year including a 2-0 win over Mississippi State for the Magnolia Cup. The Rebels, who ended the year 8-10-1 overall (4-7 SEC), scored 11 more goals in 2011 than 2010.
During his first season with the Rebels, Mott led his program to a 7-9-4 overall record and a 3-5-3 mark in SEC play. During the season, Mott's team knocked off No. 25 Auburn on the road, 2-1, and recorded a 0-0 double overtime tie against No. 18 Georgia.
A pair of his players (Alix Hildal and Mandy McCalla) was named to the All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team, respectively, while Dylan Jordan and Taylor Cunningham (CoSIDA ESPN Academic All-District First Team and SEC Community Service Team) earned honors for their accolades off the field. In addition, three players also garnered player of the week honors from the SEC.
The top assistant coach at the University of Texas from 2006-10, Mott helped the Longhorns to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back Sweet Sixteen berths in 2006 and 2007. The 2007 squad rose as high as No. 1 in the national rankings. Working with the goalkeepers and defenders, Mott helped guide UT to a school record for lowest goals against average (0.64 in 2008) and several other defensive records during his tenure.
No stranger to the Southeastern Conference, Mott assisted Karen Hoppa at Auburn from 1999-2005. He was promoted from assistant to assistant head coach to associate head coach during his time on the Plains and helped the Tigers to four straight NCAA Tournaments and four straight SEC West titles from 2001-04. He was named the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 when Auburn claimed the SEC overall championship. As Auburn's recruiting coordinator, Mott brought in six nationally ranked signing classes and helped develop several players to All-SEC and All-America honors.
The Norwood, N.Y., native served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Central Florida, for four years under Hoppa prior to his stint at Auburn. While there, the Golden Knights won three Trans Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships and earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 1998.
Before UCF, Mott was the head women's coach at Division III Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y., where he became the winningest coach in school history during his tenure from 1991-94. He was also the goalkeepers coach for the men's team at Hilbert during that time.
Mott obtained a bachelor's degree in general studies and a minor in criminal justice from UCF in 2000 and also earned an Associate of Science degree in 1994 from Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y. Before college, Mott spent four years in the U.S. Coast Guard where he played and coached with the Coast Guard's select team in Portsmouth, Va.
Mott holds a National "B" Coaching License from the United States Soccer Federation. In addition to his college coaching positions, he has served as the goalkeepers coach for the USYSA Region III Olympic Development Program team since 2003.
He is married to the former Jennifer Swartz. They have two sons, Dean and Will, and a daughter, Tacie.
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