ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - The Rebels opened play at the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Wednesday and notched a pair of goals from two of the top players in the program's history as No. 22 Ole Miss (15-4-2) defeated Kentucky (13-6-1) by a score of 2-0.
With the win, the Rebels will advance to the semifinals of the annual tournament and face the top-seeded Florida Gators at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.
The shutout was the ninth of the season for the Rebels and gave junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick her 33rd career win, giving her the most wins in a career of any goalkeeper in program history. Rafaelle Souza also tied for the career record in goals, putting in her 41st goal of her career to extend the Rebel lead in the second half.
"I'm really proud of the team tonight and the effort against a very good Kentucky team," said Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott. "We played a complete game tonight and got some very good performances all-around in a total team win. Mandy (McCalla) and Rafa (Souza) both continued to just do what they do for us, and that's put the ball in the net. Now we have to rest and get ready to face a very good Florida team on Friday."
After trading feints early in the match, the Rebels became the first team to convert an attack into a successful score when Bethany Bunker and Mandy McCalla connected for the game's first goal.
McCalla put the Rebels on the board in the 22nd minute when she took the ball at the top corner of the box on the far side of the field off a pass from Bunker. McCalla faked to her right and then turned left with the ball, firing the ball into the goal past the near post to take the 1-0 lead on the Wildcats.
The Rebels outshot the Wildcats 7-to-4 in the first half, but only found the back of the net on the one goal despite several terrific opportunities to extend the lead.
McCormick kept the Rebels in the lead as she and the back line turned away several Kentucky attacks and McCormick posted a trio of saves on hard strikes by the Wildcats' Arin Gilliland.
The Rebels extended the lead in the second half when Souza converted on a penalty kick in the 56th minute to take the lead out to 2-0. Olivia Harrison got loose on a breakaway down the far side of the field and dribbled into the box, beating a defender before she was taken down from behind.
The foul set up the penalty kick for the Rebels and Souza put it in the net to take the lead out to two goals.
Ole Miss continued to attack the back line of the Wildcats and apply pressure to Kentucky, firing off several more shots down the stretch. The Rebels held a 10-to-5 advantage in shots for the second frame just 20 minutes into the period, but were turned away by deflected balls and even the post a couple of times.
Despite several good shots down the stretch, the Rebels were unable to find the back of the net a third time as Kentucky managed to thwart the Ole Miss attack. The defense held, however, as the Rebels turned back the Wildcats the rest of the way to preserve the shutout.
McCormick posted five saves on the night, four on shots off the foot of All-SEC performer Gilliland for the Wildcats to give the Rebels the clean sheet.
Not only will Saturday's matchup between No. 4 Auburn and No. 7 Ole Miss feature the first-ever meeting of top-10 team in Oxford, but it will feature half of the top four of the College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 20-26, 2014Football- Ole Miss took its first loss of the season with a 10-7 defeat to No. 23 LSU in Baton Rouge.- The Rebels held LSU to 10 points and created four turnovers (two... read more
In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. I was able to travel... read more
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Ole Miss had its chances. The Ole Miss defense made seven points stand up for the better part of four quarters, forcing four turnovers and limiting LSU to just three points on its first three trips... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss travels to No. 23 LSU for an SEC West Showdown on Saturday. Stopping The Run Not just this year, but throughout head coach Les Miles' tenure, LSU's running game has been... read more
Ahead of a rivalry renewed on a national stage, complete with a visit of ESPN's "College GameDay" and the mystique of a Saturday night game in Death Valley, here's link roundup of videos and stories from local and national media... read more
Extra Emphasis on Special Teams Play Through the years, special teams play has provided a winning edge in the Ole Miss-LSU rivalry, and and you don't have to go all the way back to Billy Cannon's 1959 Halloween run. In... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU head coach Les Miles on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Baton Rouge.For the full SEC teleconference, go here.Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at 1:06:12... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more
The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more