OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss soccer team took to the pitch Wednesday morning to kick off preseason workouts with the first of two practices as the Rebels prepare for the upcoming season which begins on August 22, when Ole Miss hosts Georgia.
The season-opening match with the Bulldogs will begin at 6 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium and is the first live event to be broadcast by the SEC Network.
“We’re very happy with the fitness level of the team,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “Our strength coach, Randy Dorvin, has done a tremendous job and that allows us to start so much further along on the first day. We’re in a great spot physically.
“I’m happy with the speed and pace with which we trained this morning and that will help us with the style of play we want to put on the field this fall,” Mott said. “The attitude of the players was great and exactly what you look for as a coach. The players were energized and there was a buzz as they were flying all over the field in drills.”
Twenty-two players took to the field for Ole Miss, including 16 returning players and six newcomers as the Rebels look to build on the most successful season in program history. In 2013, Ole Miss finished 16-6-2 on the year and fourth in the Southeastern Conference standings with a 7-3-1 record.
The 16 wins marked the most in a single season for the program as the Rebels advanced to the fifth NCAA Tournament all-time and hosted an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in program history. Ole Miss defeated Jackson State 9-0 in that opening-round game before falling to top-ranked Florida State on the road in the second round, as the Seminoles would go on to finish as runners up for the national championship.
With the goal in sight to build on that successful campaign, the Rebels hit the field for technical drills to start the first day of practice under the watchful eye of the coaching staff, athletics trainers, and the strength and conditioning staff.
Ole Miss will close out the first day of practice when the Rebels hit the field again at 8 p.m. tonight for 11-on-11 competition.
The opening day of practice comes on the heels of a full day of orientation, acclimation and team meetings on Tuesday as the student-athletes met with different members of the Ole Miss Athletics staff, including compliance, media relations, athletic training, strength and conditioning and academics. The squad also received its new Nike equipment for the season as a part of reporting day.
The Rebels will continue practice through the next two weeks alternating two-a-day practices with single practice days, strength training and cardiovascular fitness workouts.
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.
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 Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle 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 and it’s hard to miss the excitement surrounding the program heading into the 2014 season.
The preseason accolades just don't stop for the Ole Miss football team. Everywhere you look, Rebels can be found on preseason All-America teams. Lindy's Sports recognized seven Rebels for preseason honors, including four All-Americans. Four Ole Miss Football Rebels were... read more
With the season just 74 days away, members of the 2015 Ole Miss football team continue to earn recognition on Preseason All-America lists. Athlon Sports, the latest media outlet to release its 2015 college football preseason All-America team, gave five... read more
Preseason All-America football teams continue to roll in, and Ole Miss has been well represented each time.Today, the Sporting News unveiled its preseason All-America first and second teams, which includes a total of four Rebels.OT Laremy Tunsil and DT Robert... read more
Individual preseason accolades continue to pile up for the Ole Miss football team as college football magazines look toward the 2015 season. Athlon Sports is the latest magazine to release its preseason all-conference teams, June 10; the magazine named nine... read more
The start of summer heat and vacations is also the start of another tradition - preseason college football magazines.One of the first to produce a magazine every year is Phil Steele, whose 2015 version includes about as many Ole Miss... read more
Although they will not begin competing for the Rebels until the fall, several members of the 2015 signing class have arrived at Ole Miss to begin their college journey this summer. The first of two summer sessions offered at the... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 28-May 4, 2015Baseball - The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history... read more
Welcome to Pittsburgh...and welcome to #SteelersNation, @Quez_G! #SteelersDraft pic.twitter.com/oY8wZc10Kk-- Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 2, 2015 Congrats Senquez Golson! Drafted 56th overall in the 2015 #NFLDRAFT by the Pittsburgh Steelers. #HottyToddy #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/EPGayDNOu7-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) May 2, 2015 Ole... read more
Six men with ties to Ole Miss were part of the inaugural class of 25 athletes and coaches inducted into the Scott County Hall of Fame this past Saturday at Roosevelt State Park in Morton. It is believed that this... read more
In a tie for 7th place at 7-under, @OleMissFB takes home $30,000 in charity and scholarship. #CFAPBGolf pic.twitter.com/qd0JzilyYR-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 28, 2015 The Ole Miss team of head football coach Hugh Freeze and Sean Tuohy turned in a strong... read more
The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis team learned their postseason destinations, as the men's and women's NCAA Tournament fields were announced Tuesday. The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are the No. 14 overall seed and will be... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 21-27, 2015Baseball - During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama. - The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout... read more
With a distance of 287-yards, the 2015 #CFAPBGolf Coaches Division Long Drive Champion is @CoachHughFreeze! pic.twitter.com/ProCdgbbg9-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 27, 2015 Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze took home the long drive title at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge... read more
Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the... read more