Ole Miss Soccer: (Not So) Middle Of The Pack

Jennifer Miller and the Rebels open the 2014 season against Georgia on Friday night.

Jennifer Miller and the Rebels open the 2014 season against Georgia on Friday night.
Aug. 20, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. - When the Rebels take to the field this weekend against the Georgia Bulldogs to open the 2014 season, it will be with a group of experienced players in the midfield as Ole Miss looks to pick up a Southeastern Conference victory and kick off the year with success.

The midfield won't look the same as it has in the past, however, as the Rebels look to replace a pair of four-year starters with the graduation of All-America selection Mandy McCalla and two-time captain Erin Emerson.

Junior Jennifer Miller returns to anchor the midfield after starting the previous two seasons, but it will be alongside two teammates who are new to the position with the Rebels, even if they aren't new faces on the field.

Junior Jessica Hiskey and sophomore Gretchen Harknett move up on the field for 2014 after playing previous seasons with the Rebels as strong members of a backline that posted 10 shutouts a year ago and helped Ole Miss to a school record 16 wins and the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"We're very excited about our midfield," Mott said. "Jenn is back for us and she looks really sharp. She's the general for us and understands where the ball needs to go. We're a better team when she touches the ball because she makes great decisions and is so dangerous."

Miller has been a threat in the midfield for the Rebels since she stepped on campus prior to the 2012 season. The diminutive player stands out in the crowd as she zips through defenders to pass the ball off for a score or finishes on her own. As a freshman, she posted a pair of goals before upping that total to four goals and three assists last season as a sophomore.

Add to the mix a pair of defenders who have been known to quickly take the ball and move forward on the attack in Harknett and Hiskey, and the Rebels feel they have an excellent trio in place to help control the middle of the field in 2014.

"Gretchen will move back to her natural position and replace Mandy (McCalla) as an attacking middle," Mott said. "She's a very athletic and dynamic midfielder. She can defend well and shoot with both feet from distance. She brings us the best long-range shooting we've had since I got here. She also has played club soccer with forward Addie Forbus, so they play well off each other and that will help us.

"Jessica will move to a holding mid position to take the place of Erin (Emerson)," Mott said. "She's extremely mobile, tough and tenacious. She's good with the ball and will win a lot of air balls. We really look for her to anchor our midfield. She's a player that possesses all the qualities you would include if you were to design your holding midfielder."

The three aren't going at it alone this season. The Rebels added a trio of freshmen to the mix who all have pushed for playing time in the preseason and are expected to see significant minutes on the field this season.

Amanda Karlsson, a freshman with international experience playing for the Swedish U20 team, joins Liza Harbin and Bella Fiorenzo as additional options to provide depth in the middle this season.

"Amanda is very good with the ball and is another strong presence in the air. She's good with the ball and is a playmaker. Liza will get a lot of minutes to help us in the rotation and is a fantastic athlete. She has possibly the highest vertical leap I've seen in a women's soccer player. Bella will also factor into the depth as she continues to work her way back from injury."

The athleticism at the midfield is one that excites the coaching staff with several players who possess range and agility that will help in transition as the Rebels look to move the ball forward quickly or recover defensively to turn away an opponent's attack.

"We have to replace a couple of very smart players in Erin and Mandy, but also a great goal scorer in Mandy," Mott said of his midfield. "I think this group as a whole has better mobility and speed, so we can cover a lot more ground. I think that's a common theme across the team from top to bottom is our speed. We're a faster team all around this season."

Rebel fans get the chance to see the squad in action this weekend with a pair of matches against challenging foes.

Ole Miss opens the season at 6 p.m. against the Georgia Bulldogs in a match that will be televised by the SEC Network and is the first live regular-season event broadcast by the newly launched network. The Rebels will then return to the pitch to take on Iowa State from the Big 12 at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to all matches at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium is free.

    • Seniors Shine, Records Broken in Magnolia Bowl

      Saturday, November 21, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsAfter a bounce that didn't go their way against Arkansas, the Rebels knew tonight was a must-win situation. No. 22 Ole Miss knocked off rival No. 15 LSU 38-17 in a top-25 matchup... read more

    • Drama Rules The Day at Vaught-Hemingway

      Saturday, November 7, 2015 - Football

      By Brandon Lee, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsDrama in front of a sold-out crowd of 60,680 between the No. 18 Rebels and Arkansas? It was that and a whole lot more in a back-and-forth Saturday night knockdown, drag-out SEC West... read more

    • Rebels Dominate In Prime-Time Spotlight

      Saturday, October 24, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsIt wasn't pretty, but the Rebels got the job done. No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 15 Texas A&M combined for seven turnovers, but a dominant defense and a balanced offense led to... read more

    • Midseason Checkpoint: Rebels Control Their Own Destiny

      Wednesday, October 14, 2015 -

      It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Ole Miss football team continued through the motions of fall camp, and we all were just ready for the season to finally begin. Fast forward with a little Talladega up-tempo... read more

    • Rebels Bounce Back at Home

      Saturday, October 10, 2015 -

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsOle Miss raced past another non-conference opponent at home this week. The Rebels returned to their usual form after a conference loss at Florida last week, racking up 665 yards of total offense,... read more

    • Ratings, Exposure Huge for Ole Miss-Alabama

      Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss' historic win over Alabama last Saturday was not only popular with members of Rebel Nation, it was among the most-watched college football games of the year.The Rebels' thrilling 43-37 victory over the Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium was the... read more

    • Rebels Pass First Test in Search of Playoff Berth

      Sunday, September 20, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThe road to the College Football Playoff includes many tests along the way. The Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, 1-0 SEC) just passed their first, proving that they are a legitimate contender after knocking... read more

    • Kelly Makes Statement in Big Rebel Win

      Saturday, September 12, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;... read more

    • Big Plays Highlight Season-Opening Win

      Saturday, September 5, 2015 - Football

      Offense, defense and special teams. Ole Miss dominated all three aspects of the game as the 15th-ranked Rebels routed UT Martin 76-3 in the season opener. The 60,186 fans, mostly dressed in white, anticipated an exciting start to the 2015... read more

    • Time to Take a Stand

      Monday, August 31, 2015 -

      It's finally here...game week! It's been 242 days since the Ole Miss Rebels last took to the gridiron for a clash of the helmets. After a successful 2014 campaign in which Ole Miss knocked off a No. 1-ranked team... read more

    • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge to Air on ESPNU Aug. 1

      Thursday, July 30, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ATLANTA - On Saturday, fans can tune in to see the Rebels duo of Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and former Ole Miss basketball player Sean Tuohy compete in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • Rebels Emerge on Four Watch Lists This Week

      Friday, July 17, 2015 -

      Only 50 days until The Grove is full, the constant shouts of "Hotty Toddy" are in the air, and football kicks off 100 years in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium! Looking forward to this upcoming college football season, seven Rebels were named to... read more

    • Football Rebels All Over First Week of Watch List Releases

      Friday, July 10, 2015 -

      As we near the 2015 college football season, national organizations have started to release watch lists for their respective awards. Through the first week of watch lists being released, multiple Rebels have been announced as players that fans need to... read more

    • Engram, Hilton and Johnson to Represent Ole Miss at SEC Football Media Days

      Wednesday, July 8, 2015 -

      Along with head coach Hugh Freeze, three Rebels will represent Ole Miss at the annual SEC Football Media Days next week. Junior Evan Engram, just named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for college football's most outstanding tight end,... read more

    • Five Rebels Tabbed Preseason All-SEC in The Birmingham News

      Tuesday, June 30, 2015 -

      Five Ole Miss Rebels were chosen as preseason All-SEC selections by some of the people who work closest with the student-athletes, the football media relations directors. The 14 football media relations directors of the Southeastern Conference institutions voted in the... read more




  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago



» «