25 Sep Soccer Seeking Fifth Straight in Fayetteville Sunday
• Ole Miss is coming off of a dominating 2-0 victory over No. 5 LSU on Thursday, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.
• The victory was the first over a top-5 opponent in program history.
• It was the fourth straight win in league play for the Rebels, the most since Ole Miss rattled off five straight SEC wins in 2015.
• The Rebels improved to 2-0-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2000. With a win at No. 16 Arkansas on Sunday, Ole Miss will start 3-0-0 in league play for the first time ever.
• Ole Miss recorded its second clean sheet of the season against the Tigers. Entering the match, LSU had not been held to fewer than two goals in any match this season.
• Molly Martin scored the game winner against LSU, her third goal in the last four matches and team-high seventh goal of the season.
• Haleigh Stackpole set up Martin’s goal, her 11th of the season to rank second in the nation.
• Stackpole now has 26 assists in her career, the third most in program history.
• Channing Foster is the SEC’s active leading scorer with 39 goals in her career.
• Ole Miss received 57 votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll.
• The Rebels are ranked 11th in the initial NCAA RPI report.
Colby Hale is in his 10th season at the helm of the Arkansas program, building the Razorbacks into one of the perennial powers in the SEC. Prior to Hale’s arrival, Arkansas had never received an NCAA Tournament bid. Since, the Razorbacks have made seven postseason trips and have claimed back-to-back SEC regular season championships.
After getting off to a tough start with back-to-back losses to No. 6 Duke and No. 3 North Carolina to start the season, Arkansas has rattled off seven straight wins, including SEC wins over No. 13 Tennessee and Texas A&M.
The Razorbacks are led offensively by the high octane trio of Anna Podojil, Parker Goins and Taylor Malham. Podojil leads the team with six goals, adding in five assists to also pace the Hogs with 17 points. Goins has chipped in four goals herself, leading the team with six assists, while Malham has posted four goals with one assist.
Joining Arkansas for the spring last season, Oklahoma State transfer Hannah Warner has seen the majority of the minutes in goal for the Razorbacks. Warner has started all nine matches, posting a 0.68 goals against average with a .838 save percentage on 31 stops.
Despite dropping the last four meetings, Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Arkansas 17-10-2, having rattled off 11 consecutive wins over the Hogs from 1997 to 2007. Ole Miss has visited Fayetteville 13 times and has enjoyed great success, putting together a 10-3-0 road record.
OXFORD, Miss. – A late goal from Mo O’Connor gave the Rebels life but Ole Miss was unable to erase a two-goal half time deficit, falling to No. 7 Arkansas, 2-1, at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
Arkansas held a 16-9 advantage in shots in the match. However, the strong play of Ashley Orkus in goal kept the Rebels in the affair, with the Alabama native making seven saves on the day.
The first 30 or so minutes of the match provided plenty of back-and-forth action, with little ultimately showing up on the scoreboard. The seventh-ranked Razorbacks were the first to break through, though, as Kayla McKeon buried a rebound off a blocked shot into the left side of the goal in the 36th minute.
With the Rebels looking to keep the deficit to one into halftime, Arkansas provided a crushing blow as Nayeli Perez was just able to push the ball over the line from close range in the 43rd minute.
Ole Miss got a goal right back shortly after the break as Haleigh Stackpole pulled a ball back into the 18 to find Channing Foster. However, Foster appeared to be falling as she pulled the trigger, sailing her shot high from about 12 yards.
From there the Razorbacks began to seize control and appeared to be on the way to seeing the match out. Instead, O’Connor latched onto a loose ball in the box in the 80th minute, roofing her shot into the goal to cut the deficit to one and set up a frantic finish.
Just a couple of minutes later, Ramsey Davis nearly sent the home crowd into a frenzy, narrowly sending a shot from close range wide. The Rebels kept up the press but couldn’t find a second.
BIG GAME HUNTED
Ole Miss recorded arguably the biggest win in program history Thursday night against No. 5 LSU, shutting down the staunch Tiger offense in a 2-0 victory in Oxford. It was the first win over a top-5 opponent ever for Ole Miss and the first time the Tigers were held to fewer than two goals in a match this season. The Rebel back line completely locked down the LSU attack, holding a Tiger team that was average over 20 shots per match to just five on the night. Molly Martin scored her fifth header of the season for the game winner, her team-best seventh goal of the season, and Mo O’Connor added her third goal to seal the victory.
HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE
When the Rebels have scored this season, it’s been a pretty safe bet that Haleigh Stackpole is involved, recording either a goal or an assist on 12 of Ole Miss’ last 14 goals. While the senior has three goals to her name in 2021, her primary role has been in setting up scoring opportunities. Stackpole ranks second in the nation with 11 assists this season, already tied for the fourth most in a single season in program history. The Bowling Green, Kentucky, native is up to 26 assists in her career, ranking third all-time at Ole Miss.
BRING YOUR GREEN HAT
Dating back to last season, Ole Miss has won each of its last four matches in SEC play, three against ranked opponents. The four-match run is the Rebels’ longest since rattling off five straight league victories in 2015. The Rebels have won four straight matches overall in 2021.
AIR RAID OFFENSE
Taking full advantage of the height on the roster, Ole Miss has benefitted greatly from its aerial attack in 2021 with eight headed goals, five off the dome of senior Molly Martin. Additionally, seven 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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