Coach Matt Mott's Rebels kicked off two-a-day practices on Wednesday.
Aug. 1, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. – With the season-opening match only two weeks away, the Ole Miss soccer team took to the field on Wednesday morning to kick-off preseason workouts as the Rebels work towards the season opener against St. Louis on Friday, August 17.
The practice was the first of two to be held on Wednesday and followed a day of team meetings and physical evaluations by the staff held on Tuesday afternoon when the squad reported back to campus. The 2012 edition of the Rebels welcomes 12 newcomers to the pitch along with 13 returning players.
With the one practice under their belt from Wednesday morning, the fitness level of the squad and energy has third-year head coach Matt Mott pleased with where his squad stands on day one.
“We are starting farther along than we have since I’ve been here,” Mott said. “Our fitness level is very, very good. The young players came in and competed right away. We started to establish a level of physicality we haven’t had in the past. That’s certainly a credit to our strength coach, Randall Dorvan, and the players who committed to working hard over the summer.
“It was a high-tempo practice for the hour we hit the field,” Mott said. “It was a good start.
“The new players were really active and several stood out. Jennifer Miller looked really good, as did Maddie Friedmann who is coming off an injury. Sarah Coleman also looked good. They all came in with a really high work ethic.
“Sam Sanders and Jessica Hiskey played with their clubs this summer, so we hadn’t seen them,” Mott continued. “Both of them impressed. So did the two newcomers from Tennessee in Bethany Bunker and Olivia Harrison look good as well. We’re happy with them, but we’ll have a big test tonight when we see them on the big field in 11-v.-11 drills. Early on, though, they’ve really come in and been able to handle the level of competition right away.”
While the newcomers have impressed, Mott said the staff has two main goals for the preseason. The first is to get the team to mesh as the fresh faces must meld with a group of talented returning players. He must also find some replacements for some players who departed with graduation this past spring.
“We have a good battle going at goalkeeper,” Mott said. “Kelly McCormick is back and looks really sharp, but she has two players nipping at her heels. We’ve lost a ton in the back with Meredith Snow and Kendyl Mygatt and Abbie Curran being gone, but we have to sort out our back four and figure out who we will play there because we did lose so much in the back.”
The Rebels will continue fall drills over the course of the next two weeks, alternating between two-a-day practices and single practices leading up to the opening match. Fans can meet the 2012 edition of the soccer team at Meet the Rebels Day on Saturday, August 18, the day after the season-opener.
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