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.
The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center. With a season of experience... read more
The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more
We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more
The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more
Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more
The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more
"Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more
Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more
The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more
Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more