Oct. 3, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 25 Ole Miss soccer team will take to the road this weekend for a pair of matches with Southeastern Conference showdowns at Tennessee and No. 20 Georgia.
The Rebels (9-2-1, 2-1-0 SEC) will face off against Tennessee (6-3-2, 1-1-1 SEC) at 6 p.m. CT on Friday night before continuing play on the road at No. 20 Georgia (9-2-0, 2-1-0 SEC) in a 1 p.m. CT match on Sunday afternoon.
It marks the third time, and second straight weekend, for the Rebels to face a ranked team after already playing No. 13 Southern California to a draw at the Minnesota Gold Classic at the beginning of September and falling to No. 7 Florida last weekend.
The Rebels then rebounded to post the largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent with a 7-0 shutout of Auburn on Sunday.
"They're two very good teams, and both are coming off good weekends," said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. "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."
Ole Miss split last weekend's matches against the nationally-ranked Gators and the Auburn Tigers, but remained in the top 25 after the win over the Tigers. In that game, the Rebels' balanced offense continued to perform with five different players contributing to the offensive scoring. Bethany Bunker and Mandy McCalla led the way with two goals each, while the league's leading scorer Rafaelle Souza did not notch a goal, but chipped in three assists against the Tigers to stay involved in the offense.
The Rebels also lead the league and are one of the top teams in the nation in scoring, averaging 3.0 goals per game through the first 12 games of the year.
It was the sixth clean sheet of the season for the Rebels as junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick and the Ole Miss back line stepped up the defense that surrendered early goals to the Gators on Friday night. The Rebels allowed only eight shots on the afternoon from the Tigers, dropping that production from five in the first half to allowing only three shots in the second half from Auburn.
Tennessee enters the weekend after tying LSU and falling to Alabama last weekend in a pair of SEC matches. The Lady Vols are led offensively by Hannah Wilkinson with five goals on the year. She is one of six Tennessee Players to have scored this season in an offense that has tallied 15 goals through 11 matches.
Junior Julie Eckel in goal has helped the Lady Vols post five shutouts on the season and surrendered only nine goals to date.
Georgia enters the weekend after splitting last week's matches with a win over Missouri before falling to nationally-ranked Kentucky. The Bulldogs are led offensively by Marion Crowder's eight goals this season as one of eight different players to score, though only three have scored more than one goal this season.
A defensive team, Georgia has scored 18 goals through the first 11 matches of the season while junior goalkeeper Caitlin Woody as conceded only four goals on the year. The Bulldogs have posted eight shutouts this season and have given up three of their four goals in the two losses.