Mandy McCalla and the Rebels take on Mississippi State on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Oct. 24, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss soccer team will put bragging rights on the line Thursday night when the Rebels (12-7, 5-7 SEC) travel to take on Mississippi State (8-10-1, 1-10-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. in the annual Magnolia Cup game.
The Rebels won last year’s contest 2-0 in Oxford and seek to bring the Magnolia Cup home for the second straight year. Ole Miss leads the overall series 10-5-3 and has won four of the last five meetings between the two teams.
“We have one game on the schedule this week and it's Mississippi State,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “It's on Thursday down in Starkville. It's a place we struggled last time we were down there. It is certainly a big game for us. It's the Magnolia Cup. We play for a trophy every year. I told the team yesterday that anytime you get a chance to play for a trophy, it's special and you want to win that.
“Certainly it's a rival,” Mott said. “State's got some talented players, some dangerous front runners. They've scored a number of goals. Elizabeth Sullivan for them is a very, very good forward. They'll be ready. It will be their senior night. We have to be prepared.”
Leading the way for the Rebels in the annual tilt between the two teams are the top two scorers in the Southeastern Conference with Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza. McCalla leads the league in goals (13) and points (30), while Souza is second in the SEC with 11 goals and 29 points on the year.
Kelly McCormick anchors the Rebel defense from her position in goal and directs a young back line that has combined with the sophomore to post seven shutout wins this season, three in SEC play. McCormick has twice earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors to help the Rebels to the 12 wins on the season and defender Jessica Hiskey has also been named the SEC Freshman of the Week after helping Ole Miss post a 2-0 shutout of Kentucky earlier this season.
Mississippi State is led offensively by junior Elisabeth Sullivan who has scored 10 goals on the season and is also in the top five in the SEC in goals. Eight different players have scored goals this season for the Bulldogs, who have tallied 26 goals this season but allowed 34 goals from opponents.
The Bulldogs’ lone conference win came over Alabama with a 3-2 victory on October 12.
The Rebels are looking to close out the regular season strong before heading into the Southeastern Conference Tournament next week. Ole Miss will open play on Monday, though final seeding and opponent has yet to be determined with the one match left in the regular season.
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