When his team returned to Oxford for fall camp, Coach Matt Mott liked what he saw. There was an energy and hunger still left in his players that carried over from the 2012 season. While other programs let the memories of last season fade into black like ink in the record books, Mott's team remembered the feeling of missing the post-season for a third straight year. They remembered what it felt like to fall from an NCAA Tournament projection to one of the last teams left out of the dance in a matter of weeks.
But with those memories still fresh in their minds, this year, as far as the senior leaders and coaching staff are concerned, will be different. An NCAA Tournament appearance is not just a goal for the 2013 Women's Soccer squad, it's expected. And why not? Behind a solid group of returning, experienced players, including one of, if not the best offensive duo in the league in McCalla and Souza, the Rebels are looking to make noise. Coach Mott and his staff are demanding a certain swagger from their players, and to provide the first step in their NCAA résumé, he expects domination of the non-conference schedule.
So far, so good.
Ole Miss snagged their 2nd victory of the year tonight in Birmingham, Ala., holding off the UAB Blazers by a score of 5-2. The Rebels' offensive production came in two quick spurts, scoring their first 3 goals in a 20-minute span and their final 2 goals in a 6-minute span. Rafaelle Souza, the senior forward warmly known as "Rafa," put in the Rebels' first goal just 4 minutes into the match on a beautiful steal and score. Quickly following Souza's score was Jennifer Miller, putting in her 3rd goal of the year, and Bethany Bunker, scoring her 1st of the year. Junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick surrendered her first goal of the year at the 32 minute mark to Paige Hanks. Hanks bested McCormick once again 3 minutes later, scoring the Blazers' only goals of the night.
With ten minutes left to play in the match, Olivia Harrison and Mandy McCalla scored a quick back-to-back to put the game out of reach.
Ole Miss will rest after 2 games in 3 days and be back in action this Friday night in Oxford against Northwestern State.