OXFORD, Miss. - Anticipation for preseason practice caused time to slow to a crawl for the student-athletes and coaches alike, but that all changed Wednesday when the Rebel soccer team hit the pitch for the first practice of the preseason.
Ole Miss, which held the first of two practices Wednesday morning, started work for the 2013 season with a spirited practice at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium at 8 a.m. The Rebels will open the season in two short weeks, hosting Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 23.
"It was nice to get out here today and have a great day to work with and get off to a great start," said Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott. "This morning we worked a lot on some fitness stuff, some short technical stuff with movement and the speed of the game. Tonight when we take the field for our second practice, we'll do 11-on-11 and focus much more on the tactical thinking and game-related work."
When the squad hit the field, the coaches were excited by several things - most notably the fitness level of the returning players and the work ethic of the newcomers, and the technique and play of the squad in the short opening practice.
"We're really fit, definitely the most fit we've been to start a preseason since I've been here," Mott said. "We look strong. The players who were here all summer look really strong and the four or five who weren't here did lots of work over the summer and look good. We are in a better spot than we've ever been from a fitness standpoint.
It's an exciting prospect after the first practice with nine new members joining a squad that featured 10 newcomers a year ago. This year's squad - that only seeks to replace three seniors from a successful 2012 campaign - features six seniors and a junior to go along with the talented underclass.
Adding to the excitement is the return of the Southeastern Conference's leading goal scorers from a year ago in Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. The pair earned All-SEC honors from the league's coaches and tied for the conference lead with 13 goals and 33 points each last season.
The Rebels also return junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick, who helped Ole Miss post eight shutout victories a year ago and a school-record 483 consecutive shutout minutes as part of an eight-game win streak to open the year.
Preseason practice will continue over the course of the next two weeks for the Rebels, who will alternate between single practice days and two-a-day sessions at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium until the opener against the Ragin' Cajuns.
Sam Smith posted his eighth straight quality start, but it was not enough, as LSU shut out Ole Miss 2-0 Saturday afternoon to take the three-game series. It was the first time that the Rebels had been shutout since a... read more
LSU looked to have gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but right fielder Mark Laird dropped a fly ball in foul territory that would have been the final out and send the game to the fifth down... read more
For eight innings, Chris Ellis dueled Aaron Nola, the Southeastern Conference's leader in strikeouts (84) and earned run average (0.70) to a draw, as he left with the game with the score tied at 2-2. It was the eighth time... read more
Two new mock drafts released this week has former wide receiver Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief being selected in the late second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, set for May 8-10. NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks projects Moncrief... read more
With Billy Chadwick's last regular season in the books, the Rebels seem to be peeking and hoping to make a final postseason run for the legendary head coach. Corresponding with such, we are also getting down to our final stretch... read more
One spot in the ITA national rankings can make all the difference. Last season, San Diego, ranked No. 44 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, while crosstown rival, San Diego State, ranked No. 45, was... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 7-13, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss improved to 29-9 on the season and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play after a pair of nonconference wins over Memphis and Murray State in the midweek and a series win... read more
Coming off a disappointing 6-5 loss in 10 innings Saturday, Ole Miss bounced back with a dominant 12-2 win Sunday to take the weekend series against Mississippi State in Starkville. At the plate, the Rebels set season high for runs... read more
Ole Miss struck early with five runs over the first four innings, which Chris Ellis and Wyatt Short made hold up in a 6-1 win over Mississippi State Friday night at Dudy Noble Field. The leadoff man for Mississippi State... read more