OXFORD, Miss. The Rebel soccer team looks to retain the Magnolia Cup trophy with the annual meeting between Ole Miss and Mississippi State to be played Friday at 7 p.m., which is the regular-season finale for both teams and Senior Night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
In honor of all seniors in attendance, any fans 60 or older will receive free admission to the match.
Ole Miss (6-7-5, 3-4-3 SEC) currently sits in seventh place in the Southeastern Conference standings with 12 points. A win on Friday would guarantee the Rebels one of the top eight spots and a berth in the SEC Tournament, which will be held in Orange Beach, Ala., on Nov. 7-11. A tie or loss would force Ole Miss to watch results from Vanderbilt and Kentucky to determine a tourney spot.
“This is the biggest game of the year for our team,” head coach Steve Holeman said. “For us, this is the first round of the SEC Tournament because from here on out is single elimination. With all the ups and downs we’ve been through, the good news is that we still control our own fate of going to Orange Beach. If we win, we don’t have to rely on other teams’ results.”
Six Rebel seniors will play their final home game in the Red and Blue on Friday. Amy Gill, Christine Liberto, Cori Mehan, Morgan Reichel, Ann Shelton and Chrissy Strini will be honored in pregame festivities on Senior Night.
A preseason All-SEC selection, Strini leads Ole Miss with five goals and three assists for 13 points on the year. Junior midfielder Jennifer Hance has chipped in four goals, all in league play.
Mississippi State (6-11-1, 2-7-1 SEC) has been eliminated from postseason play, but has produced an upset win over No. 17 Georgia and a tie with No. 28 South Carolina earlier this year. Canadian forward Treena Ferguson leads the Bulldogs with seven goals and 17 points on the season, while sophomore forward Katelyn Graben has added five goals and five assists.
“Mississippi State is a big rival for us,” Holeman said. “It is always a hard-fought game and our girls will be ready.”
Ole Miss owns a 6-4-3 in the all-time series with its rival. The Rebels regained control of the Magnolia Cup trophy with last year’s 2-0 victory in Starkville. Each year since 2003 the winner of the intra-state match has earned the trophy. Ole Miss has won twice, lost once and tied twice during that time.