OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Matt Mott talks with the press at his weekly press conference.
Matt Mott talks with the press at his weekly press conference.

Aug. 27, 2012

Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott spoke with the media on Monday afternoon in his first weekly press conference for the 2012 season.

Opening Statement:

We’re four games in at this point. We’re 4-0 which is a start we’re really happy with. We started with Saint Louis here then went on the road for Middle Tennessee State and Troy University. Then back home last night to Louisiana-Lafayette. The team is performing well. We’re happy with our start. We certainly have a lot of work to do. Our effort, intensity level and energy level have been very good. We’re still working on the execution part of things.

We’re happy with two shutouts over the four games. We’ve scored a number of goals. We’ve had 12 different players have points on the team. That’s pretty well-rounded. We have a group that has 13 returners and 12 new guys. We’ve been working on meshing them together and getting them to play together.

We have a pretty young back line with our sophomore goal-keeper Kelly McCormick. She’s playing very, very well. She was just named SEC Defensive Player of the Week this week. Our back line has got Samantha Sanders, Maddie Friedmann and Jessica Hiskey. They’re all freshmen. Maddie Cunningham and Emily Sinovich are the other two logging minutes back there for us. We’re pretty strong in the back. We’ve done a good job there.

At midfield, Alex Hildal is back who is our two time All-SEC Player. She’s anchoring that group for us. Also we have Erin Emerson and a new player, Jennifer Miller, who has come in and started and done a really good job for us.

We’re the strongest up front with Mandy McCalla who has three assists and three goals in four games. We also have Rafaelle Souza, our Brazilian international, who is leading the conference in goals. She is also leading our team with four. We play a freshman from Mississippi in Sara Coleman. She’s from Laurel. That kind of rounds out our top group.

We have a lot of depth. We were able to bring a lot of players in: Olivia Harrison, Bethany Bunker and Brooke Theobald. They’re logging a lot of minutes for us.

We’ve got a big weekend coming up. We start with Arkansas- Little Rock on Friday. They’re a good team out of the Sunbelt. They had a great season last year. We will look for them to be tough.  We renew the rivalry with Texas Tech. We played them each of my first two years here. They beat us in Notre Dame. We beat them last year at their place. So there will be some revenge as they come in here to play us Sunday at 7 p.m.

On Kelly McCormick:
She’s a good leader back there for us. She’s working her tail off. She came in really fit and really sharp. Coach Thompson has done a great job working with her and getting her prepared. She’s really come in and taken off where she left off last year. She’s just performing really well for us. She’s steady and her kicking game has improved. We’re very happy with Kelly.

On freshmen and playing time:
We played three games in the first six days and that was by design to start getting them minutes early. We were able to play a lot of people. At Troy State we played every field player. That was by design for sure. It was to get them going at it early. We didn’t play an exhibition game so we were able to add an extra game into the regular season which certainly helped us as we prepare for the SEC conference season.

On defense:
I think our team defending is better. We gave up too many goals last year. That’s been a huge key for us. To only give up two goals at this point is really a mark of our total team defending. It starts at the front with Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. Midfield has also done a very good job. Our young guys in the back are battling like crazy. We’re happy with them and it’s making Kelly’s job a little easier for sure.

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