OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebels took the early lead for the second straight match, but a pair of unanswered goals from the Lady Vols were the difference in the game as Ole Miss (12-7, 5-7 SEC) fell to Tennessee (13-4-2, 8-3-1 SEC) by a score of 2-1 on Sunday.
Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in two weeks.
Mandy McCalla continued to add to her Southeastern Conference leading goal total with a first half goal against the Lady Vols, but the Rebels couldn't maintain the lead as Tennessee picked up the win down the stretch.
"It was a tough Sunday match for sure," said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. "We started off with a good goal and they countered with a goal off a corner. We left Hannah Wilkinson free at the top of the box for a few seconds and she's a world class player who scored the goal for them. We couldn't respond. It's disappointing. We fought hard and worked hard, but now we have to get ourselves ready for Mississippi State on Thursday."
McCalla put the Rebels on the board in the eighth minute when she took a corner kick in the six-yard box from Rafaelle Souza and put it in the goal to give Ole Miss the early lead. It was the 13th goal of the season for McCalla who scored only five goals a year ago and also gave her the league lead in points with 30 points on the year.
Souza is second on the team and in the SEC with 11 goals and 29 points to date.
Tennessee tied the game up with a goal in the 11th minute from Amy Harrison. The Lady Vols played the ball in off a corner kick and Caroline Brown served the ball into the box where it was headed to Harrison from Kylie Bono. Harrison took the header and put it in the net to tie the score at one.
The score sat even at halftime.
Ole Miss pressed the Lady Vols for much of the second half, but Tennessee capitalized on one of its possessions deep in the Rebel defense. Hannah Wilkinson, who had been quiet most of the game, received a pass back at the top of the box from Alexis Owens and put it on the mark to five the Lady Vols the lead in the 80th minute of play.
The Rebels would take two more shots in the Tennessee box late, but both were blocked by defenders as the Lady Vols kept Ole Miss from tying the match and picked up the win.
Ole Miss will close out the regular season on the road Thursday night when the Rebels take on Mississippi State at 7 p.m. in Starkville.
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