Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott met with members of the media Monday to discuss last week's matches against Georgia and Iowa State, and to discuss the upcoming matches with Louisville and Louisiana-Lafayette.
I’m excited to get the season started. We obviously had a very exciting game on Friday night opening the season with a conference game on the SEC Network. It was almost overwhelming for our team and coaching staff with the support we got, really from all different angles and certainly the fans. We had a record 1,823 fans. It was just awesome. It was packed and it was standing-room only. You could feel the energy from the crowd, and we really appreciated it.
It was a good game, and when you start the season with a conference game - that’s never been done before in SEC soccer - you have the intensity of your fist game and the intensity of a conference game. It was really a fast-paced, intense game. I thought our girls handled it pretty well. I was happy with the way we played, for the most part, in the game. We had one lapse on a set piece, and they did a nice job of finishing it. For us to battle back and get a goal and then give ourselves a couple other good chances was exciting for us as we go forward and get back into non-conference play.
We played yesterday against Iowa State, a team that had beaten Mississippi State 5-1 on Friday night. We played 110 minutes against Georgia, so we were certainly concerned about (Iowa State’s) ability to score goals. I really challenged the team before about what they were made of. It was over 100 degrees, and on the field, it was about 120 degrees with the heat coming off of the ground. Our girls came out and played really, really well. They did not allow a shot on frame in the game, so Kelly (McCormick), our goalkeeper, didn’t have to make a save, which was nice, and limited them to just five shots the whole game. We were able to get a goal off a penalty. Jennifer Miller drew a penalty, and we had Kelly McCormick, our goalkeeper, come up and take the penalty. She struck it great and scored for us. We were able to create stuff in the second half. We didn’t get that second goal to put the game away, but I’m certainly happy with how we performed under the conditions with the minutes we played on Friday in that kind of environment and then turned around and played again.
I was just telling Ross (Bjork), I have lived in Orlando, Florida; Auburn, Alabama; and Austin, Texas, and yesterday was the hottest soccer game I have ever been a part of. I was drenched with sweat and all I did was stand and yell once in a while. They were very, very tough conditions and our girls battled like crazy. We played 18 players and got some their first live college action.
We’re heading down to Louisville on Friday to open their new stadium. It should be a great game. Louisville is a very good team, an NCAA team from last year, so it will be great competition for us. The team is excited to get on the road and then we’re back on Sunday for Louisiana-Lafayette, here back at home on Sunday and hoping it won’t be 100 degrees. Kelly McCormick was just named SEC Player of the Week for her weekend. She went 200 minutes played and gave up one goal and scored our game-winner yesterday. She had the shutout yesterday. It was a great weekend for her, our lone senior.
She was in our group last year to take penalties in the postseason. She was in our group of five. We came into this season and we started some guys taking them, and she was one of the best. When it happened, I look out on the field, and it kind of hit me that we should go with Kelly. She stepped up and hit it great. She’s certainly in the rotation. I wouldn’t say she’s the only one we’re going to use, but she’s a player that we will look to in certain situations to use for sure.
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