OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss was held scoreless in the first half, but more than made up for it with four goals in the second period to rout East Tennessee State University 4-0 on a balmy Friday night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
The Rebels recorded their fourth straight shutout victory and improved to 4-1 on the season, while ETSU fell to 1-5 with the loss.
Steve Holeman's squad had the upper hand in possession time throughout the contest and out-shot the Buccaneers 27-2. The Rebels held a 16-1 shot advantage at the end of the first half and hit the crossbar twice, but did not have a goal to show for it.
"Obviously we struggled a little in the first half to put the ball in the back of the net," Holeman said. "Credit ETSU's goalkeeper. She made some great saves in the first half, especially. We made some tactical adjustments at halftime and came out and got a lot of good opportunities. It was a game where our team felt like once we got the first goal, more would follow."
Senior forward Hannah Weatherly, in her first action of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury, scored what would be the game-winning goal at the 62:27 mark in the second half when she took a long pass from Dylan Jordan, dribbled around a defender to her right and shot the ball back to her left past the keeper.
"It was great to have Hannah back," Holeman said. "She got the first goal and that's all we needed. She didn't play a lot of minutes, but anybody that watched can see she's a talented player. It's nice to have her back."
The Rebels scored three more times within the next 12 minutes to ice the game. In the 66th minute, Taylor Cunningham registered her team-leading fourth goal of the year with a 15-yard blast off a Kelsey Breathitt pass. Just six minutes later Brittany King got her first collegiate goal when she punched in a Mary Bailey Wickham corner kick. Then just three minutes later Danielle Johnson tallied her second score of the year when she finished a breakaway goal off a long Meredith Snow assist.
Through five contests, Ole Miss has now out-scored opponents by a combined total of 14-1 and out-shot them 97-21. The Rebels have recorded four straight wins and four straight shutouts both for the first time since 2005. Their 4-1 record is the best start to a season since also beginning 4-1 in 2005.
The Rebels are back in action on Sunday, hosting UALR at 1 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. Admission is free. Rebel Sports Marketing will celebrate National Grandparents Day by giving out free ice cream sundaes to fans who show up early. Gates open at noon.