18 Sep Soccer Closes Out Non-Conference Schedule against Georgia Southern
• Ole Miss finishes up its non-conference schedule at home, hosting Georgia Southern Sunday afternoon in Oxford.
• The Rebels have faced off against the Eagles just once perviously, a 3-0 win in Oxford last spring.
• Ole Miss is coming off of a 3-1 win over Alabama in the Rebels’ SEC opener, moving to the top of the league table.
• It was the third straight win in league play for the Rebels.
• The win was just the third victory in the SEC opener for Ole Miss since 2013.
• Three different Rebels scored in the victory, including senior Molly Martin bagging her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
• Previously, Martin had never scored more than three goals in a season.
• Martin has needed just 16 shots to register her six goals. Her 37.5% conversion rate is tied for fourth in the nation.
• In addition to scoring the game-winning goal against the Crimson Tide, Haleigh Stackpole also dished out her ninth assist of the season, moving into a tie for the national lead.
• Stackpole’s 24 career assists is the third most in program history.
• Channing Foster is the SEC’s active leading scorer with 39 goals in her career.
• Ole Miss received 18 votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll.
SCOUTING GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Chris Adams is in his second season as the head coach at Georgia Southern following 18 seasons building North Georgia into a top NCAA Division II program. In his final nine seasons at UNG, Adams’ Eagles earned an NCAA Tournament bid six times, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2016.
After posting a 4-12-1 record in 2020, the Eagles are off to a strong 6-2-1 record this season. Georgia Southern has won six of its last seven matches, including a 4-1 win over Appalachian State to open up Sun Belt play on Friday.
Sixth-year senior Marcela Montoya leads the Eagles with six goals on the season, including a hat trick against Charleston Southern earlier in the season. Montoya also leads the team with three assists. Redshirt-freshman Elis Nemtsov is another top scoring threat for GSU, having bagged five goals in 2021.
Freshman Michaela English has seen nearly all the time in goal for Georgia Southern, starting all nine matches and posting a 0.77 goals against average with an .870 save percentage on 47 stops, posting three clean sheets. Senior Sallie Newton played just over 15 minutes against Charleston Southern, allowing no goals with being forced to make a save.
The Rebels and Eagles have met up just one time previously, a 3-0 win for Ole Miss last season in Oxford.
OXFORD, Miss. – It didn’t take long for No. 25 Ole Miss soccer to shake off the rust after a three-week break from action. The Rebels scored twice in the first half and added another in the second to take care of Georgia Southern 3-0 at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
After a brief feeling-out period, the Rebels struck first in the 16th minute as Mo O’Connor slipped a pass to Channing Foster, who struck the ball far post past the Georgia Southern keeper from the left edge of the six-yard box.
Fifty-seven seconds later, Molly Martin punched in a goal after Haleigh Stackpole poked it towards her on a long throw-in. Martin sent it into the back of the net with a quick strike for her first goal of the season. The Rebels took a two-goal lead into the locker room at the half after tallying 11 shots in the first half for the second straight game.
Ole Miss continued to pour in the shots in the second half. Sophomore Jenna Kemp was able to connect on a header in the 46th minute on a beautiful cross from Stackpole, pushing the lead to 3-0. The Rebels had a few more opportunities to add to the scoring, finishing the match with 34 total attempts at goal, but the Eagles managed to keep the damage at three.
Ashley Orkus had a quiet day in goal as Ole Miss held possession on the Georgia Southern side of the pitch. She recorded her fourth shutout of the season and second of the spring, needing to make only one save.
Leading Ole Miss in scoring with five goals on the season, Molly Martin has taken full advantage of a relatively few number of scoring chances for a player with such a high scoring mark. Martin has needed just 16 total shots to score her six goals, tied for the fourth best conversion percentage in the country. Prior to this season, Martin had never scored more than three goals in a season.
Through the first seven matches of the season, seniors Channing Foster and Molly Martin have been in the thick of the scoring action. The pair has teamed up to score 10 of the Rebels’ 16 goals this season. The senior duo have had a bulk of the chances for the Rebels, with Foster leading the team with 35 shots and Martin sitting second at 16.
AT YOUR SERVICE
Haleigh Stackpole has been putting balls on platters for her teammates all season long, tying for the national lead with nine assists on the year. In recent matches, the senior has been the engine driving the Rebel offense forward. Stackpole has registered an assist on eight of Ole Miss’ last 10 goals. Stackpole has been consistent all season, recording at least one assist in six of the Rebels’ eight games. Stackpole’s nine assists is tied for the sixth most in a single season in program history, while her 24 career assists ranks third all-time.
AIR RAID OFFENSE
Taking full advantage of the height on the roster, Ole Miss has benefitted greatly from its aerial attack in 2021 with six headed goals, four off the dome of senior Molly Martin. Additionally, six of the Rebels’ goals have come off of either a corner kick or a long throw-in.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Scoring four times on the season, Channing Foster has been up to her old tricks. The four tallies has brought the senior’s career total to 39, moving into soul possession of fourth most in program-history, nine behind all-time leader CeCe Kizer.
RUN IT BACK
Coming off of arguably the best season in program history, Ole Miss is reloaded for the 2021 season, bringing back virtually the entire roster from a season ago. In fact, the Rebels return every single goal, assist and save from last season’s team, including a veteran core of 13 upperclassmen. Going back even further, 50 of the 58 goals scored over the last two seasons were scored by a player returning to the Rebel roster. Bolstering the stacked lineup with 11 additional newcomers, the Rebs have plenty of weapons available to attack the new campaign.
AMONG THE NATION’S ELITE
After establishing herself with a solid first season in Red and Navy in 2019, Rebel goalkeeper Ashley Orkus grabbed the nation’s attention in 2020 with one of the most decorated seasons in program history. The senior shot stopper has been recognized for her accomplishments with a selection to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First Team, garnering headlines as the premier goalkeeper in the country. This comes after making a Southeastern Conference high 85 saves with seven clean sheets a season ago, leading to a unanimous nod as the SEC Goalkeeper of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-America laurel, while also earning the Best XI First Team spot from TopDrawerSoccer to close out the season.
Coming back for one final college campaign in 2021, Channing Foster will look to accomplish something rarely possible, become a five-time All-SEC honoree. Ever since bursting onto the scene with 12 goals as a freshman in 2017, Foster has been lighting the scoreboard up for the Rebs, landing on the all-conference team every season, including back-to-back first team nods. The SEC’s active leading scorer with 39 goals, the Murray, Kentucky, native is one of just two Rebels to earn all-league distinction four times in a career, joining all-time great Danielle Johnson. Despite her prolific career, Foster enters this season with the first preseason All-America recognition of her career, being selected to the Third Team by College Soccer News.
For the second consecutive season, Channing Foster and Ashley Orkus have been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The trophy is the nation’s highest individual honor recognizing the nation’s National Player of the Year as determined by the voting of Division I coaches who are members of United Soccer Coaches. Foster and Orkus are two of six SEC players recognized on the watch list, joining Arkansas’s Parker Goins and Anna Podojil and Texas A&M’s Barbara Olivieri and Karlina Sample. The Rebel duo are also both among the top-100 players in the nation as ranked by TopDrawerSoccer. Orkus is the highest ranked goalkeeper in the land at No. 16, the third-highest ranked player in the SEC and climbing all the way from No. 63 in TDS’s 2020 preseason rankings. Meanwhile, Foster comes in at No. 57, moving up from her place at No. 69 in the final rankings of the 2020 season.
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Prior to October 31, 2020 no goalkeeper in the history of the Southeastern Conference had ever posted two assists in a single match. That changed during Ole Miss’ 4-3 win over Georgia, with Ashley Orkus crossing the midfield stripe twice to serve in free kicks, both times combining with Molly Martin to result directly in Rebel goals. Orkus wasn’t done there, the following week at Vanderbilt, Orkus again delivered a crucial assist from a free kick, teaming up with Martin once again to setup Channing Foster’s golden goal in overtime. During conference play, the three assists were good for a tie, along with Martin, for fourth most in the SEC and 18th in the nation.
OLE MISS PICKED 6TH IN SEC PRESEASON POLL
Earlier in the week, The SEC announced the 2021 Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Tuesday, with Ole Miss predicted to finish sixth in the league table as voted on by the conference’s 14 head coaches.
Ole Miss moves up a couple of places over its prediction in the past two coaches’ polls, having been selected eighth the last two seasons. The Rebels have finished higher in the league standings than the preseason prognostication in six of the last nine seasons.
KEEP AN EYE OUT
The Southeastern Conference also announced the 2021 Preseason Watch List on Tuesday, with Ole Miss being represented by Channing Foster, Molly Martin, Sydney Michalak, Ashley Orkus and Haleigh Stackpole, all of whom were also named to the 2020 edition of the watchlist.
Foster returns as the SEC’s active leading scorer, while Martin provides an arial threat as well as serving as a key cog in the spine of the Rebel formation. One of the quickest players in the conference, Michalak helped Ole Miss lock down seven clean sheets at outside back, playing in front of the SEC’s Goalkeeper of the Year in Orkus. Entering her fourth season, Stackpole is a true box-to-box player and arguably the Rebels’ top playmaker, ranking third in the conference with eight assists and adding in four goals of her own.
DRAFT DAY DELIGHT
For the second time in three years, an Ole Miss Rebel heard her name called during the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft, with senior Channing Foster being selected with the 32nd overall pick by the Chicago Red Stars, while still retaining her eligibility to suit up for the Rebels this season. The Murray, Kentucky, native is a familiar face to the Red Stars organization, having played for the club’s Women’s Premier Soccer League affiliate, helping lead the Chicago Red Stars Reserves to a WPSL Central Region Championship. The Reds Stars have also been on the wrong end of the senior’s lethal left foot, with Foster scoring a stoppage time winner for the U-23 USWNT over Chicago in the 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational.
The Rebel coaching staff scoured the entirety of the south to bring in some of the nation’s top talent for the 2021 roster, plucking seven rookies from six different states. Adding to an Ole Miss roster that features standout performers from all around the country, Mott and his staff dipped into the talent pool in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee to continue to build the roster’s depth. Mott signed defender Kaitlin Maynard, a pair of midfielders in Ellie McIntyre and Lauren Montgomery and a trio of forwards, Amber Fortenberry, Maddie Bishop and Whitaker Buchanan. He also went out and added Canadian goalkeeper Alyssa Zalac to the signing class in late January and defender Lily Logan in April.
Rounding out the 2021 class is Shea O’Malley from Cary, North Carolina. O’Malley was ranked as the No. 25 recruit in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer and was called up to the United States U17 Women’s National Team. O’Malley graduated high school early and arrived on campus early to train with the Rebels during the spring.
HITTING THE PORTAL
In addition to the crop of nine freshmen added for the new season, Ole Miss also added depth to its veteran lineup with a pair of transfers in Sydney Ash of Virginia Tech and Stella Downing of Memphis.
Ash spent two seasons in Blacksburg before joining Ole Miss and training with the Rebels in the spring of 2021. In her time at Virginia Tech, the junior defender played in 13 matches with eight starts across the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The Leesburg, Virginia, native made seven starts for VT during the fall of 2020, helping the Hokies to a pair of clean sheets and recording her first career assist against Miami. Unfortunately, Ash will spend the 2021 season on the sideline after suffering a season-ending injury in preseason training.
The Rebels have also added a player they got to see up close in personal a season ago in Memphis’ Stella Downing. A lightning quick attacker out of Vancouver, Canada, Downing played in all 12 matches for the Tigers last season, tallying a pair of assists. One of those helpers came against Ole Miss, setting up Memphis’ lone goal in the 3-1 Rebel win. At the international level, Downing earned a bronze medal in the 2018 CONCACAF U17 Women’s Championship, earning her first cap for Team Canada against the USA.
GAS IN THE TANK
Over her first three seasons as a Rebel, junior Haleigh Stackpole has proven to have deep reserves when it comes to energy. The Fort Bragg, North Carolina, native has been a fixture in the Ole Miss lineup ever since stepping foot on campus, starting all 63 matches of her collegiate career. Even more impressive, the box-to-box midfielder has hardly ever come off the field despite easily pacing the Rebels in distance ran every match, typically 9-10 miles. After ranking second on the team as a freshman at just over 84 minutes per match, Stackpole was subbed for just three total minutes in 2019, logging 1,899 minutes over 20 matches, and was one of just three players to be on the pitch for every second last season.
FOLLOW THE REBS!
Fans can keep up with all the goings on around the Ole Miss soccer program by following the Rebels on the team’s various social media platforms. You can find the Rebs on Twitter at @OleMissSoccer, on Instagram at @OfficialOleMissSoccer or on Facebook by search “Ole Miss Soccer”. Fans can also now follow Ole Miss on TikTok at @OleMissWSoccer.
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