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Ole Miss soccer opens season with win over North Alabama

Goals from Channing Foster and Mo O’Connor lead the Rebs over the visiting Lions.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Ole Miss soccer team opened the 2019-20 athletics slate with a 2-0 win over the visiting North Alabama Lions. Channing Foster converted a penalty kick in the first half and freshman Oxford native Mo O’Connor scored her first goal as a Rebel in the second half to give Ole Miss the win.

Foster opened the scoring in the 28th minute, as she earned a penalty after being tripped up on the far side of the box and subsequently buried the penalty kick in the bottom right corner.

O’Connor opened her scoring account as a Rebel in the 75th minute, as she followed up her own shot that had gone off the post. Ole Miss goalkeeper Ashley Orkus made a fine save in a one-on-one situation just a few minutes later to put the game on ice.

The Rebels (1-0-0) were impressive defensively, allowing just four shots (one on goal) and constantly stepping into passing lanes and pressing up high to cut off the Lions’ service to their forwards. Maddy Houghton in particular was putting out fires left and right – she’ll need to take a step forward this season if the Rebels want to return to the postseason.

I would like to see the Rebs be more efficient in the offensive third. Foster and Madisyn Pezzino both had good looks at goal that should have been put away but were denied by the Lions goalkeeper. It’s not unexpected that this team is still searching for an offensive identity, since it’s the first game of the season and they are now without CeCe Kizer, the program’s all-time leading scorer, but you still want to see your forwards convert on open chances.

The Rebels will face their first big test of the season on Sunday as they travel to Memphis to take on the 20th-ranked Tigers. Ole Miss will be looking to avenge last season’s 2-0 loss.