Special Season Continues For Mott, Rebels

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Senior Rafaelle Souza (left) and head coach Matthew Mott (right) on Senior Night.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Senior Rafaelle Souza (left) and head coach Matthew Mott (right) on Senior Night.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 12, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- Head coach Matthew Mott knew this year's team was special one of the first days of preseason.

For the Ole Miss coaches and players, when they host Jackson State at 7 p.m. Friday, it will be the first time in the NCAA Tournament as Rebels.

"It's special," Mott said. "I'm really excited for this group. Erin Emerson said to me this summer we've got to get to the NCAA Tournament. She's one of the seniors who have been here for four years and been here through the growth, and I agreed with her. Those guys did everything right to get us there."

"It's exciting," said Emerson, one of six seniors on this year's team. "I always wanted to go. I started freshman year, and we didn't get there the past three years, so it's really exciting to be able to play at least once in the NCAA Tournament. It might be my last game on Friday night, so it's bittersweet, but it's exciting to play on that field one more time and hopefully keep going in the NCAA Tournament."

During his first season with the Rebels in 2010, Mott led his program to a 7-9-4 overall record, then 8-10-1 in 2011, 13-9-0 and an SEC Tournament appearance in 2012, and then broke through with a historic season in 2013.

Ole Miss (15-5-2), ranked No. 22 nationally, has tied the school record for wins in a season and has a chance to break that record against Jackson State, having already set a school record with 14 regular-season wins.

"It's been my same staff the whole time I have been here, and I'm really proud of the work we have done," Mott said. "It's hard work paying off, and that's what we're seeing. We came in here and kept fighting hard and working to get there. I'm really proud of our staff, our team and the girls that stayed and bought in."

The turning point in the season, Mott said, was a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Kennesaw State on Sept. 13, the final match of a four-match road swing.

"We had a long bus ride over there," Mott recalled. "We got caught in traffic, so a five-hour trip took eight or nine hours and got to the hotel late, sleep and get up and play Kennesaw State in front of a huge crowd. They were playing really well and we were down in the second half, and so to be able to come back from that, our team realized we had something special, and we did as coaches. That was right before conference play started, and then we got rolling."

In the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, the 4th-seeded Rebels blanked 5th-seeded Kentucky, 2-0, as junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick became the program's all-time leader in goalkeeper win and senior Rafaelle Souza tied the career mark with 41 over her three-year Ole Miss career.

"That was probably the best game we have played since I have been the coach here," Mott said. "It was a complete game."

Mott feels that the team is in a really good spot, particularly based on their performances in the last two matches, and they won't be fazed by the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament.

"We're peaking at the right time," Mott said. "I like the way we're playing. We're pretty healthy. I feel good about them and the style we have been playing and the energy the girls are bringing. Everybody is tired at this time of year, but we still have a lot left in the tank.

"These guys don't get rattled. We played down in Texas A&M in front of 2,500 people going crazy and screaming at us, and we handled it really well. They just don't get rattled and look forward to playing and know when they step across the line, it's our 11 versus their 11."

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children and students. Tickets are available for purchase online here. The first 200 students to the Tad Smith Coliseum until 4 p.m. today or 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday can get one free ticket.

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Ole Miss, MSU Renew Rivalry on Hardwood

      Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference.  Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 20-26, 2015)

      Monday, January 26, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 25

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Athletics

      Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more

    • Prewitt Caps Impressive Week at Senior Bowl

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Football

      Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more

    • VIDEO: Home is Ole Miss

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football: Home is Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Baseball Omaha Challenge

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Baseball

      The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Challenge 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Rivalry Game with NCAA Tournament Implications

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more

    • Prewitt, Golson Impress at Senior Bowl Practices

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Football

       Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 13-19, 2015)

      Monday, January 19, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 18

      Sunday, January 18, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more

    • Key Stretch Starts with Tough Test in LSU

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more

    • Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 Rankings

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 6-12, 2015)

      Monday, January 12, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 11

      Sunday, January 11, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more

    • Rebels to Open SEC Play ' in Grand Fashion'

      Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more