It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the Ole Miss soccer team, but it’s high time that we did. With the exception of a 1-1 draw against a very good Michigan team, the Rebels have dominated everyone in their path en route to a 5-0-1 start to the season. I mean, take a look at these scorelines:
Ole Miss 8-0 Alabama State
Ole Miss 8-0 Northwestern State
Ole Miss 1-1 Michigan
Ole Miss 3-0 Lamar
Ole Miss 5-0 High Point
Ole Miss 8-0 Southern Miss
Granted, these are all mid-majors, and all of their matches have been at home (their first scheduled road game, August 27 at ULL, was cancelled due to Harvey), but it’s still incredibly encouraging to see a team this young win by such wide margins.
The offense, which finished near the bottom of the SEC last season, has been completely transformed. The Rebels are averaging 5.5 goals per game, which leads the nation, and their 33 total goals is 10 more than Arkansas in second.
Ole Miss has already scored more goals this year than 232 teams did in the entire 2016 season.— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) September 5, 2017
Attacking midfielders CeCe Kizer and Channing Foster have been the key to the transformation. They are tied for second in the country with seven goals apiece. Kizer leads the NCAA in total points with 18, and Foster is third with 15. Their chemistry up front has been great and is a positive sign for the offense as SEC play looms.
Kizer to Foster. We definitely like the sound of that. Another hat-trick last night for @channing_foster last night as well! #B3 pic.twitter.com/CA6sj2Wvnm— Ole Miss Soccer (@OleMissSoccer) September 4, 2017
As good as the offense has been, the defense has been nearly as impressive. Despite starting three newcomers, including two freshmen, they’ve allowed just one goal and 31 shots all season. Some of this might be a product of weaker opponents parking the bus and not really making an effort to score, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
This weekend at the Memphis tournament, the Rebels will take on Tulsa and the host Tigers, who beat Ole Miss last season and are 5-0 this season. They could pose more of a threat than any of the Rebels’ most recent opponents.
After that, things will get very real very quickly as the Rebels will head to Gainesville on September 14 to open SEC play against the no. 9 Gators. We might not know how good the Rebel footballers really are until then, but the early signs are very, very encouraging.