Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott met with members of the press on Monday to discuss the Rebels' weekend split with No. 7 Florida and Auburn, and the Rebels' upcoming road contests at Tennessee and No. 19 Georgia this weekend.
Opening Statement: “We had kind of a crazy weekend. We opened up Friday at home against Florida. We went down early in that game. We gave up three early goals in the first 15 minutes. We played them pretty tough the rest of the way. We got one back to make it 3-1 at halftime. We really pushed for a second one early in the second half. We just couldn’t find that second goal. They scored one right at the end of the game to finish 4-1. We talked to the team a lot after the game about bouncing back, not letting that game beat you twice, having a short memory and getting ready for a good Auburn team.
We came out against Auburn and scored the most goals. We had the best win that we’ve ever had in the history of Ole Miss soccer in the SEC. We beat Auburn 7-0. We had two goals from Bethany Bunker, two from Mandy McCalla, a goal from Emily Reid, a goal from Addie Forbus and a goal from Olivia Harrison. It was a really complete game for us. We scored two minutes in and scored another one four minutes in. We took a 2-0 lead at halftime.
We talked at halftime about how dangerous a two-goal lead is. We came straight out of halftime and scored 30 seconds into the second half. We kind of went on from there. We’re certainly really, really happy with that performance. We were playing in the rain on a Sunday afternoon. It was really our only our second Sunday afternoon all season. Our fitness level was very, very good. We passed the ball well. We were very good defensively. I’m just happy with the team.
We also go on the road this weekend, like volleyball. We play Tennessee on Friday and Georgia on Sunday. They’re two very good teams, two that are ranked in the top 30 in the RPI. Both are coming off good weekends. We need to be prepared for them. Tennessee, who we play on Friday, probably has one of the top forwards in the league in Hannah Wilkinson. She is a New Zealand international player. Georgia is now 9-2. They’re also very, very good. They have a good front line. We need to be ready for two tough games on the road."
On the team's defense: “Kelly (McCormick) made a great save right at the beginning of the game, I think it was 2-0 at the time. They had a free kick based off of that play. She made a couple of really good saves and made them look easy. She’s kind of coming into her own. The whole back line, I’m really happy with. Sam Sanders is playing fantastic and Maddie Friedmann is back there. We brought Jessica Hiskey back. Gretchen Harknett, Melissa Capocaccia and all of those guys have done a very good job for us. Getting Jessica back and getting her more minutes is certainly going to help us as we get into this SEC grind.”
On this year’s team compared to previous ones: “It’s the best team I have had here by a long shot. There’s talent in every position. I’m really happy with how we competed. The teams before us have helped us build and get to this point. That’s what we’ve been trying to do, get better and better each year. It is a very strong team, certainly with the senior class we have in Erin Emerson, Mandy McCalla, Rafa Souza, Emily Reid, Brianna Supulski and Maddie Cunningham. They’ve been here for four years. They’ve done a great job for us.”
On Melissa Capocaccia playing against her sisters at Tennessee: "It’s going to be a neat game for us. Her two sisters play at Tennessee. One of them starts, the other one plays a lot. Melissa is starting for us. I wonder what it will be like for her parents. Melissa is definitely excited. She’s excited to play against them and compete. Luckily for her and for them, she plays outside back for us and they play outside back for them. Hopefully they aren’t going into too many tackles. I know it’s something she’s been looking forward to.”
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