OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss soccer team will close out the home portion of its regular season schedule this weekend when the Rebels host LSU and Tennessee in a pair of matches at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
The Rebels (12-5, 5-5 SEC) will take on LSU (6-7-4, 2-6-2 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night in the team's annual "Kick Cancer" game. The squad will wear pink uniforms for the game that will then be auctioned off to raise money to support breast cancer research.
Ole Miss will then host Tennessee (11-4-2, 6-3-1 SEC) at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday in a game televised by SportSouth. It will be senior day and the Rebels will honor a trio of seniors prior to the start of the match.
"LSU is very good," said Rebel head coach Matthew Mott. "They've fallen on a couple of hard times lately, but they'll be ready. They're trying to get to the (SEC Tournament). They need points so they're going to come in and play really hard. Tennessee is in the top 20 in the country in the RPI, coming in at 18. That's a huge game for us from a standpoint of trying to get another win for our NCAA chances. It will be a very difficult weekend, but I'm certainly glad that we're at home and in front of our home fans. We've been good out here and we're hoping to continue that.
"We've played well since the Florida game," Mott said. "We played well at Auburn and Georgia, but we just didn't get the results. Now we've started to pick up the results in the way we're playing. We're playing really well, and this time of year you have to defend well. We have weapons up front in Rafa and Mandy. Olivia (Harrison) is coming on, as well as Bethany Bunker. It gives us a chance to score and that's obviously huge."
Ole Miss is coming off a weekend that saw the Rebels pick up the first sweep of conference foes on the road in the Matt Mott era with a 1-0 win over Vanderbilt on Friday night and a 2-1 win over South Carolina on Sunday. Freshman defenders played a key role in the wins with Jessica Hiskey scoring her first collegiate goal in the win over the Commodores, while Samantha Sanders scored her first collegiate goal to push the Rebels past the Gamecocks.
Rafaelle Souza and Mandy McCalla continue to lead the Rebels and the Southeastern Conference in scoring with 11 and 10 goals, respectively. Souza also leads the league in points (27), while McCalla is second in the league in points (24).
Kelly McCormick and the Rebel back line have continued to play well this season, posting seven shutout wins on the year and two in the current three-game win streak. The Rebels will look to the maturing back line and the sophomore goalkeeper again this weekend against the Tigers and the Lady Vols.
Ole Miss has outscored opponents 38-to-17 on the season thanks in large part to the play of the Rebel defense. The Rebels have also taken almost 100 more shots than opponents and are holding foes to a shot percentage of less than .100 on the year.
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