OXFORD, Miss. -Dylan Jordan headed in the go-ahead goal at the 70:59 mark in the second half, and Ole Miss opened the Matthew Mott era with a 1-0 win over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Friday night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
The Rebels secured a season-opening victory for the 10th time in 16 tries, but it was the first time since 2006.
"With all the change that's gone on with a new team and new coaches, to get a win right off the bat is big for our program," said Mott, who took over as the Rebel head coach in May after serving as an assistant at Texas for the last four seasons. "To really get our players to believe and buy into everything we're doing is good."
The Rebels controlled the better part of possession throughout the first half and out-shot the Blue Rebels 7-6 in the period. Ole Miss dominated after halftime, though, out-shooting MTSU 12-2 in the second half and creating several dangerous opportunities in the attack.
Preseason All-SEC midfielder Taylor Cunningham nearly put the Rebels ahead in the 64th minute, but her beautifully placed free kick knocked off the crossbar.
Jordan finished her opportunity with the winning header in the 71st minute, but it was Kelsey Breathitt's run down the right flank that made it happen.
"It was a really good run by Kelsey down the flank and a great service," Mott said. "We've worked on that flank service a lot, and Dylan did a great job of finishing it. She got in there and got her head on it. She's fearless in the penalty area and did a really good job of finishing it off."
Jordan scored six goals as a sophomore last year, while Breathitt had four assists as a sophomore a year ago.
Junior goalkeeper Alley Ronaldi made four saves and collected her first shutout of the season and the 11th of her career.
MTSU was a 12-6-2 squad last season and returned 10 of 11 starters this year.
"I thought it was a really good test for us," Mott said. "Middle Tennessee State is a good team. They score a lot of goals, so for us to keep them off the board was something we were real happy about. They are very well-coached and dangerous. Alley Ronaldi played really well for us and made a couple of huge breakaway saves. I thought we had some good things going forward, created some chances. We were happy to finally get one in. Right now at this time of the season you're not the sharpest you're going to be in a couple months, so we'll take a 1-0 win and move on."
Five Rebel freshmen saw their first career action, and starters Mandy McCalla and Erin Emerson were particularly impressive in their Ole Miss debut. McCalla controlled the middle of the field and took four shots, while Emerson was dangerous up top and fired away three shots. Also seeing their first career action were A'shanae Monroe, Lindsey Walter and Ally Nikolaus.
Ole Miss returns to action in exactly one week with a Friday night showdown against Western Kentucky also at 7 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more
If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more
The defensive backs, including former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will hold its annual pro day on March 5... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the... read more
Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's... read more
After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0... read more
For the second time in as many weeks, Ole Miss embarks on a Thursday-Saturday swing, returning home to host Tennessee on Saturday after a 71-65 win on Thursday at Mississippi State. During the previous week, Ole Miss was on the... read more
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The game hung in the balance. Mississippi State had just regained a 54-52 lead with 6:25 left, taking advantage of a 6-0 run. Head coach Andy Kennedy challenged his team, and junior guard Stefan Moody answered the... read more
Ole Miss and Cal will play a home-and-home football series in 2017 and 2019, the schools and ESPN announced Thursday. It marks the Rebels' first matchup with a Pac-12 school in football and will be only the program's second visit... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 10-16, 2015Men's Basketball- Ole Miss saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a one-point loss to No. 23 Arkansas Saturday night. Junior guard Stefan Moody and senior forward M.J. Rhett each scored 16 points... read more
The men's basketball team marches on toward March, the baseball team opened the 2015 season with a series win over William & Mary and the softball team prepares for its home opener under first-year head coach Mike Smith. The winter... read more
Riding a six-game winning streak, Ole Miss hosts No. 24 Arkansas in a battle for sole possession of second place in the SEC standings. The Rebels are looking for its fourth season sweep of Arkansas in the last five attempts,... read more