OXFORD, Miss. – The 25th-ranked Ole Miss soccer team matched the best start in school history on Friday night when Ole Miss (7-0) defeated UAB (0-6) by a score of 4-1 to finish non-conference play with an unblemished record.
The win matches the seven straight wins Ole Miss put together in the 2003 season for the best start in program history.
Ole Miss willed its way to the win with timely goals and precision play when needed on the night. The Rebels converted a pair of penalty kicks as two of the team’s four goals on a night when three different players put the ball in the net.
“One of our goals at the start of the season was to go undefeated in non-conference play, so we’re happy to have done that,” said Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott. “We’re trying to get the ball in dangerous positions and we’ve been able to do that for our attackers. We had some unfinished business from last year and we’re hungry to get into conference play, but we have to take it one game at a time and treat it like we’re starting a new season now.”
Alix Hildal got the Rebels on the board with her first goal of the season in the 14th minute, taking a pass from Erin Emerson and driving it into the goal. Emerson got the pass at the top of the box and passed it back out to Hildal who centered and scored to give the Rebels the 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss extended the lead to 2-0 in the 43rd minute when Mandy McCalla scored her seventh goal of the season on a penalty kick after being taken down in the box on a break.
The Blazers came out firing in the second half, converting a goal early in the period, scoring in the 49th minute when Johanna Liney took a pass from Megan Collins and got it past the Rebel goalkeeper. The goal snapped a streak of four consecutive shutouts by the Rebel defense.
Ole Miss wasn’t done scoring, though, pushing the lead back out to two goals when Rafaelle Souza scored the first of her two goals off a penalty kick in the 69th minute. Freshman Jessica Hiskey drew the foul in the box when she was taken down, setting up the kick from Souza that the junior converted with ease.
Souza scored again a few minutes later when she received a free kick from Brooke Theobald in the box and put the ball in the back of the net. Theobald took the free kick near midfield following a UAB foul and placed it perfectly in the box for Souza who converted the shot to give the Rebels the 4-1 victory.
Ole Miss will return to action next weekend, opening Southeastern Conference play with a pair of home matches against Western Division foes. The Rebels will host Arkansas at 7 p.m. on Friday night before taking on 14th-ranked Texas A&M at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to all matches is free.
Rebel fans can keep up with all of the latest news on the Ole Miss soccer team through several different outlets, including OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter @OleMissSoccer and can “like” the team on Facebook by searching for Ole Miss Soccer.
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