MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -Rafaelle Souza scored the only goal of the match, but a big defensive performance by the Rebels saw the squad remain undefeated as Ole Miss (4-0-1) and No. 13 Southern California (3-0-1) played to a 1-1 draw Friday night.
Souza delivered her goal off a pass from Mandy McCalla in a quick answer to the Trojan goal as both teams scored within three minutes of each other on an afternoon that saw solid play by both keepers. Ole Miss' Kelly McCormick posted six saves on the afternoon, while the USC keeper posted three saves.
"Our team really battled today and gutted it out," said Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott. "Our effort and intensity level was awesome. It was a high-level competition with two very talented teams going at each other. We played so hard, especially with our back line and defense of Kelly (McCormick) in goal."
"We came out in the second half committed to playing better than we did in the first," Mott said. "We came out determined that we would not lose this match. We came out flying around and carried that through the overtime. We were going to find a way to win this match if we could today."
It was a defensive first half with both teams pushing back and forth looking for a weakness. Neither team was able to capitalize on opportunities, however, as the teams went into halftime with no score.
The second half saw an aggressive Rebel team out of the gates, pressing advantages offensively as Ole Miss sought to get on the board. Ole Miss got one of its best shots in the early stages of the second half when Rafaelle Souza took a shot from the near corner of the box that was stopped by a diving keeper for USC.
The Trojans then turned the stop into an attack, converting on a goal in the 57th mark to break the stalemate. Kayla Mills notched the goal from the far side, taking the pass from Jamie Fink to set up the score.
The Rebels responded almost immediately, taking the ball down the field and answering with a goal in the 65th minute from Souza. The senior took the ball on the far side of the box and made a move on the defender after receiving the ball from McCalla, beating the Trojan with a fake before drilling the shot into the far side of the net to tie the match at one.
The two teams battled from there, trading body blows but neither getting the knockout punch down the stretch. Ole Miss had a chance with 10 seconds remaining, sending a free kick into the box and getting a flurry of shots off, but the Trojans deflected each one to send the game into overtime.
The defensive struggle continued through the first overtime period with both defenses coming up with big stops on limited opportunities to keep the score knotted after the 10-minute frame.
The second overtime period was more of the same with neither team able to capitalize on limited chances on the way to the draw.
The Rebels will return to action on Sunday afternoon when Ole Miss faces off against host Minnesota at 1 p.m.
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