Soccer Set for Marquee Matchup with No. 17 UCF

Soccer Set for Marquee Matchup with No. 17 UCF


• Thursday is Ted Lasso Night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium, with festivities including a costume contest, face paint and more!

• Ranked No. 17 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, UCF is Ole Miss’ first ranked opponent of the 2021 season.

• Ole Miss is coming off of a 1-1 draw on Sunday at home against Samford, with Channing Foster delivering the lone Rebel goal.

• It was Foster’s fourth goal of the season to tie Molly Martin for the team lead. The senior took over sole possession on Ole Miss’ all-time scoring list with her 39th career goal.

• Foster is the SEC’s active leading scorer with 39 goals in her career. Foster and Martin are tied for eighth in the league this season with four goals

Haleigh Stackpole recorded an assist on all five goals for Ole Miss during the week, including four at South Alabama on Thursday.

• Stackpole sits at seven total assists for the season, tying for the national lead.

• Four of Ole Miss’ five goals on the week came off of headers. In total, the Rebels have scored six headed goals this season.

• Ole Miss is undefeated in its last 13 non-conference matches, picking up 11 wins during that stretch.

• The Rebels are one of 40 NCAA Division I programs to remain undefeated on the season.

• The Rebels are ranked No. 25 in the College Soccer News top-30. Ole Miss received 26 votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll, the fourth-most among unranked teams.


The Knights are in their ninth season under the direction of former North Carolina and standout and USWNT player Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. During her run, Roberts Sahaydak has been named the AAC Coach of the Year three times while guiding the nights to four conference championships and four NCAA Tournament bids.

Playing one of the more daunting non-conference slates in the nation, UCF enters the matchup with a 3-2 record, taking down Texas, Florida and Penn State. With that 3-2 record, UCF is slotted No. 17 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll.

The Knights are led in scoring by senior forward Kristen Scott with four goals to her credit. Senior midfielder Rajaee Darya is the only other UCF player with multiple goals in 2021. Meanwhile, midfielders Mallory Olsson and Trescott Shamlou pace the Knights with a pair of assists apiece.

Junior Caroline DeLisle has started all five matches between the posts, garnering a 1.40 goals against average with a .800 save percentage on 28 stops.


Ole Miss leads the all-time series with UCF by a narrow 2-1-1 margin. However, the Rebels have not recorded a win over the Knights since the 2007 season, a 1-0 win in Oxford. UCF claimed a 4-0 victory over Ole Miss in 2014 in Orlando, while the Rebels played then-No. 19 UCF to a 2-2 draw in Oxford in 2015.


OXFORD, Miss. –
Ole Miss walked away with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against No. 19 UCF. The Rebels scored in the third minute to take an early lead before finding the equalizer in the 89th minute to force extra time.

The Rebels were the first to get the ball into the net as they capitalized on a UCF handball. Gretchen Harknett took a corner kick, giving current Rebel assistant head coach Jessica Hiskey an opportunity to shoot the ball. Hiskey’s shot ricocheted off a UCF hand in the box to give the Rebels a chance to take the early advantage. Danielle Gray took the penalty shot and sent the ball into the net in just the third minute of the game.

The next 43 minutes of the first half were filled with offensive attacks on both sides of the ball, but the defense held strong and neither team was able to convert for another goal. In the 37th minute, Marnie Merritt slid in to make the diving save on an aggressive attack by UCF. Addie Forbus continued to press for Ole Miss, making another run at the goal with three minutes to play in the first half, taking a shot from the 18-yard box but it was just over of the net, barely clearing the crossbar.

The action continued when both teams stepped back on the pitch for the second half. Megan Fish took a shot, but Merritt came up with the save. However, Carol Rodrigues took advantage of the deflection and UCF was able to convert for their first goal of the game in the 56th minute.

UCF’s Rodriques scored the second goal for the Knights in the 72nd minute on a penalty kick. Both teams continued to fight until the last minute with UCF holding onto their 2-1 lead. With less than two minutes on the clock, Kizer send the ball into the goal to tie the game for the Rebels after a crisp pass from Harrison, sending the two teams into overtime.

The Rebels continued to battle until the last second, though the game ultimately resulted in a 2-2 tie with a ranked UCF team.


Through the first five 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 eight of the Rebels’ 12 goals this season. Either Martin or Foster has scored at least once in every Ole Miss match this season.


Haleigh Stackpole played the role of playmaker last week, dishing out five total assists, including four in Ole Miss’ 4-2 win at South Alabama on Thursday. The four assists were tied for the third most in a single match in program-history. Stackpole has registered seven assists on the season, tied for the nation’s lead. Stackpole now has 22 assists in her career, tied for sixth most at Ole Miss.


Taking full advantage of the height on the roster, Ole Miss has benefitted greatly from its aerial attack in 2021 with five headed goals, three 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.


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. Averaging nearly a goal per game in 2021, Foster is tied for eighth in the SEC.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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