OXFORD, Miss. - With rain showers coming and going throughout Sunday's match, Ole Miss suffered its first loss of the season with a 3-1 defeat to UAB at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
The Rebels dropped to 1-1-1 on the year, while UAB improved its record to 2-2.
First-year head coach Matthew Mott's team held a slight advantage in the run of play throughout the first half, but UAB dented the scoreboard first with Carolyn Polcari's goal in the 38th minute.
"I felt like we played really well for the first 40 minutes," Mott said. "We had some good chances. We had some good looks, we just didn't get the ball on frame. Polcari did a really good job on the flank and cut one of our players, and we dove in on her. She did a good job of finishing near post. We knew we had to be sharp defensively, and we just had that one breakdown and they punished us."
Fifteen minutes into the second half, UAB went up 2-0 when Rebel goalkeeper Alley Ronaldi misplayed a ball in the box, which allowed Blazer forward Tiffini Turpin to tap in an easy score.
Taylor Cunningham pulled the Rebels within one at the 78:25 mark when she scored a brilliant 15-yard shot to the far post. Alix Hildal got the assist.
But with Ole Miss sending more players on the attack to go for an equalizer, UAB increased its advantage back to two goals on a counter-attack with Pascale Pinard punching it in from close range off Sam Bradford's flick.
"We had to chase the game a little bit and we fell short," Mott said. "We had to push numbers forward, and that always opens you up for a counter-attack, and that's what happened."
"I'm really happy with our team's effort," Mott added. "The effort and intensity were there. They worked really hard, we just couldn't get the ball on frame in enough dangerous positions. We had plenty of chances, we just didn't finish and they did. We played a lot of people today, so we got some good looks at some of the guys in live action. We still have to get better every day."
Cunningham and Dylan Jordan led the Rebels with four shots apiece, while Polcari led the Blazers with five shots. UAB finished with a 17-15 overall advantage in shots. Ole Miss junior Lily Crabtree took two shots and played well as a starting outside midfielder in the absence of injured Rebel Kelsey Breathitt. Freshman Morgan Zigelsky played 15 minutes in her first career action at Ole Miss.
The Rebels travel to South Bend, Ind., next weekend for the Inn at St. Mary's Classic, hosted by Notre Dame. Ole Miss will face Texas Tech on Friday at 4 p.m. CT and top-10 nationally ranked Santa Clara on Sunday at 10 a.m. CT.
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