Rebels Face Nationally-Ranked LSU, South Carolina

Olivia Harrison and the Rebels face No. 25 LSU and No. 7 South Carolina this weekend.

Olivia Harrison and the Rebels face No. 25 LSU and No. 7 South Carolina this weekend.

Oct. 17, 2013

OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebels will have a tall task on hand this weekend with a split pair of matches as No. 24 Ole Miss (11-3-1, 4-2-0 Southeastern Conference) will take on No. 25 LSU and No. 7 South Carolina as the race for the SEC title continues on the pitch.

Ole Miss will take to the road to face 25th-ranked LSU (9-3-2, 5-0-1 SEC) Friday at 7 p.m. before returning home to face seventh-ranked South Carolina (12-1-1, 5-1-0 SEC) at 1 p.m. on Sunday. LSU currently sits atop the league standings, while South Carolina is in a three-way tie for second.

The Rebels are tied for fifth with the Florida Gators, but sit only a game behind the Gamecocks and a game-and-a-half behind the Tigers.

"These are two big games for us," said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott.  "LSU has a very dynamic front group. They have a couple of forward freshmen. Summer Clarke is leading the league in goals in SEC games right now. She's very, very dangerous. Emma Fletcher is another one for them. She plays out of attacking-mid and is very dangerous. They're very good in goal. It will be tough down there. South Carolina's only loss is to Georgia in league play. Both teams are playing at high levels. We need to be prepared and on our game, certainly."

The Rebels enter the weekend with a two-game win streak after defeating No. 20 Georgia on the road and following it up with a win over Vanderbilt at home this past Friday. When Ole Miss takes the field against the Tigers and Gamecocks, it will push the Rebels' games against nationally-ranked foes to five teams this season.

The dynamic scoring duo of seniors Rafaelle Souza and Mandy McCalla continue to pace the Ole Miss offense with 13 and 11 goals, respectively. Souza notched a pair of goals in the win at Georgia, while McCalla hit the game-winner in both matches against the Bulldogs and the Commodores.

Souza leads the league in scoring with her 13 goals and is also tops in points (32) after adding six assists so far this season. She is also among the national leaders in goals and points heading into the weekend.

The Ole Miss defense has been solid this season, posting shutout victories in seven of 15 matches played to date, led by junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick and the Rebel back line that features a pair of sophomores and freshmen in the starting lineup.

Based on recent history, the Friday contest at LSU could be one of the more competitive ones of the season with the Rebels and Tigers sitting at an 8-8-4 record in the all-time series. The two teams faced each other twice last season with LSU picking up a 3-2 win in overtime in Oxford before the Rebels posted a 1-0 win over the Tigers in the SEC Tournament.

The Tigers are led offensively by Clarke, who boasts eight goals on the season, and by Fletcher who has posted 10 assists out of the midfield. Defensively, Megan Kinneman holds an 8-2-2 mark in goal for LSU with six shutouts and 18 goals against.

South Carolina travels to face the Missouri Tigers on Friday night before coming to Oxford for the Sunday afternoon showdown. The Gamecocks' only loss of the year came in the conference opener against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Danielle Au and Raina Johnson pace the South Carolina offense with five goals each as a part of a unit that has scored 20 goals this season, but allowed only six goals by opponents. The Gamecock defense has posted nine shutouts with Sabrina D'Angelo anchoring the defense in goal.

Sunday will be Dad and Daughter day at the Ole Miss Soccer stadium and admission to all matches is free.

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