Sept. 14, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — In soccer, they call it a derby. It's a rivalry against between two teams from the same town, city or region, and Ole Miss renews its local derby with the Memphis Tigers Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
The two teams did not meet in the fall last season, having last played in a spring exhibition earlier this year, The Rebels hold an 8-6-1 advantage in the series, including 5-3 in Oxford, but have not defeated the Tigers since a 1-0 win in 2009.
"This is definitely our derby," head coach Matt Mott said of the rivalry with Memphis. "It's a team that's right up the road in Memphis. We play in the spring, and we play in the fall. It's been good, competitive matches. They are a very good team. They are always ranked high and play in the NCAA Tournament. It's a good measuring stick for us when we play against them."
"We played them in the spring, so we know a little bit about them, but obviously with the freshmen for both teams coming in, it will be a big game," said sophomore Olivia Harrison, a native of Collierville, Tenn. "In the spring, we both put up a fight, but in the end, it came down to a penalty kick, and they won."
The rivalry is also of special significance for five Rebels who hail from the Memphis area in Harrison, fellow sophomore Bethany Bunker, and freshmen Melissa Capocaccia, Gretchen Harknett and Mackenze Parma.
"I expect it to be physical with a lot of high intensity," Parma said. "There's going to be more to it than soccer. There's also a personal aspect. It's about bragging rights because we're both within an hour radius of each other. And we have family and friends from there who come out and support us who are also Memphis fans."
Sunday night is also the Rebels' next-to-last nonconference game of the season, their last nonconference game before they begin their Southeastern Conference slate next Friday at Arkansas.
"Everyone expects this game to prepare us because they're such a high-quality team," Parma said. "This game will definitely prepare us for both SEC play and NCAA tournament play."
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller