Rebels Using Successful Spring To Build For Fall

Jessica Hiskey and the Rebels posted an undefeated spring in exhibition in preparation for the 2014 season.

Jessica Hiskey and the Rebels posted an undefeated spring in exhibition in preparation for the 2014 season.

June 28, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. – On the heels of the most successful season in program history that saw the Rebels advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, post the most wins in school history and host an NCAA Tournament match for the first time, Ole Miss women’s soccer continues to set its sights higher heading into the 2014 season this fall.

Despite losing two of the most prolific goal scorers in program history with Rafaelle Souza (drafted 10th overall by the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer Lague and Mandy McCalla (graduation), the Rebels took to the field this past spring and turned in a solid exhibition season with multiple offensive weapons emerging amongst the returning players.

Ole Miss roared through the spring exhibition, posting an undefeated mark as the Rebels took to the field to compete without the presence of the departing senior class or incoming freshmen to compete against other teams in the region, including matches against Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Samford.

“We were 6-0 in the spring and really happy with the performance of the team after moving some players around from the fall,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “The team responded well to the changes and worked hard. It was a great opportunity for development as we work toward a new season in the fall. I’m proud of how the team responded to the changes in role we asked of them.”

Kelly McCormick is the lone senior for the upcoming season as the goalkeeper has started all three years for the Rebels and is the all-time wins leader in goal (34), She posted a 16-6-2 mark as a junior while seeing the full time in goal in 19 matches and posting 10 shutout victories.  

The Rebels also welcome back a large junior class of seven players for the upcoming season and nine players among last year’s freshman class.

Ole Miss returns several playmakers for the 2014 season, including forwards Olivia Harrison, Bethany Bunker and Addie Forbus, who combined for 17 of the team’s goals last season. In all, the Rebels return seven players who notched goals a year ago, and 39 career goals among all returning players in the junior and sophomore classes over the last two seasons.

Harrison (13), Bunker (7) and midfielder Jennifer Miller (6) are among the top goal scorers in the junior class. Also returning to the lineup for the Rebels will be Sara Coleman, who missed last season after a freshman year that saw the speedy forward notch three goals, including the game-winner in a shutout of Kentucky.

Defensively, the Rebels also return one of the most talented and experienced back lines in program history with all six players (Melissa Capocaccia, Maddie Friedmann, Gretchen Harknett, Jessica Hiskey, Georgia Russell and Samantha Sanders) who drew starts returning from last season all hitting the field again.

The group helped post 10 shutout victories a year ago and 17 matches with one goal or fewer allowed. The rising junior class has helped lead the Rebels to 18 shutout victories over the last two seasons and 30 total matches with no more than one goal allowed by opponents.

The versatility of the returning athletes for the Rebels adds to the prospects for 2014 despite the loss of senior midfielder Erin Emerson, along with the departure of McCalla and Souza up top. Miller returns for her third season at midfield, while attacking defenders Harknett and Hiskey can both move up to the midfield to provide an effective combination of defense and offense along with Miller in the middle.

Add in an exciting freshman class that will arrive over the summer and it’s hard to miss the excitement surrounding the program heading into the 2014 season.

That excitement is already cranking up as the squad has already reported for summer session to begin work in the classroom and working individually on the pitch to build on the success of recent seasons at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.

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