23 Oct Top-25 Showdown on Tap Sunday for Soccer’s Senior Day
• Ole Miss is coming off of a 2-1 loss on the road at Missouri on Thursday.
• The loss snapped a four-match winning streak for the Rebels. It was the fourth-straight loss in Columbia for Ole Miss.
• The Rebels entered the halftime break in Columbia down 1-0, trailing at halftime for the first time since the season opener at Memphis.
• Despite the loss, Molly Martin hit the back of the net for the eighth time this season. Martin is tied for fifth in the SEC with eight goals on the year.
• Price Loposer and Ramsey Davis assisted on Martin’s effort. It was the first point of Loposer’s career.
• Ole Miss remains tied for second in the SEC table with 18 points, tied with Tennessee.
• Ole Miss jumped five spots to No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, the Rebels’ second highest ranking ever and highest since reaching No. 12 in 2015.
• Ole Miss also moved up from No. 26 to No. 19 in the College Soccer News Top-30.
• The Rebels are ranked sixth in the most recent NCAA RPI report.
The Auburn Tigers are in their 23rd season under head coach Karen Hoppa, who has amassed greater than 300 wins in her 29 seasons patrolling the sideline as a head coach. During her time on The Plains, Hoppa has guided the Tigers to seven SEC West titles, one regular season championship and one SEC Tournament crown.
Ranked No. 19 in the nation, Auburn enters the match coming off of a 2-0 loss to Arkansas on Thursday, snapping a three-game winning streak. The Tigers own a 5-3 SEC record but have won just one of five games against ranked teams this season.
The Tigers are led offensively by sophomore midfielder Anna Haddock, who is tied for fifth in the SEC with 8 goals, matching the efforts of Molly Martin among other league players. Haddock also paces the Tigers with seven assists, ranking sixth in the SEC with 23 points. Fellow sophomore Marissa Arias is close behind with seven goals, while junior Sydney Richards has chipped in five.
Sophomore Maddie Prohaska has played every second in goal for the Tigers, registering a 0.86 goals against average on 36 saves for a 0.735 save percentage. Prohaska has posted seven clean sheets this season.
Ole Miss owns the slightest of advantages in the all-time series with Auburn at 13-12-3, winning three of the last five matchups. Ole Miss is 8-3-1 all-time against Auburn when playing in Oxford. However, the Tigers won last season’s matchup, the first win over Ole Miss for Auburn since 2012.
AUBURN, Ala. – Ole Miss and Auburn battled for nearly the entire 120 minutes allotted in a collegiate soccer match, with the Rebels surrendering an own goal with just three seconds left in the second period of extra time for a heartbreaking 1-0 loss on The Plains.
Despite suffering an unjust loss between the posts, Ashley Orkus was a standout for the Rebels. The Ole Miss keeper made a handful of tremendous saves and collected nine stops in all in the match, one shy of tying her career high.
The first half featured a back-and-forth battle, with neither team able to put the final pieces together for the opening goal. Auburn outshot the Rebels 8-4 in the period, with Orkus standing tall to make six first half saves. Nonetheless, one of the best chances of the half came off the foot of Madisyn Pezzino, with her rocket shot being tipped over the bar by Tiger keeper Maddie Prohaska.
The second half didn’t feature too many clear-cut chances but the ones that did come fell to the feet of the home team. However, just like in the first stanza, Orkus was up to the task. The Rebel keeper made three saves in the half, twice coming out of her goal quickly to extinguish breakaway chances for the Tigers.
While Auburn held a possession advantage in the second half, Ole Miss did look dangerous on the counter attack. Unfortunately, when the Rebels were able to break forward the final ball was not able to be connected, with both teams settling for a 0-0 score line at the end of regulation.
In the overtime periods there wasn’t too much action for either side until the final seconds. The Tigers won a corner kick with about 20 ticks left on the clock and with just three seconds remaining the delivery from the flag came off a Rebel head and found the back of the net, handing the Rebels a crushing defeat.
THE LAST DANCE
Entering the 2021 campaign with nine career goals in her first four seasons, midfielder Molly Martin is enjoying a prolific final season in Red and Navy. The Memphis native has scored eight times this season to lead the Rebels and tie for fifth in the SEC. Potentially the most dangerous aerial presence in the nation, six of Martin’s goals this season have come off headers.
TAKING A MULLIGAN
While three points on the road was nice, possibly the most rewarding aspect of Ole Miss’ match at Texas A&M was seeing the return of senior Lonnie Mulligan. Taking the pitch for the final five minutes of the half at Ellis Field, it was the first game action for Mulligan since tearing her ACL 362 days prior in the second match of the 2020 season at LSU.
In back-to-back weeks, Ole Miss has been recognized in the SEC’s weekly awards after Haleigh Stackpole was named the conference’s offensive player of the week on Monday. Stackpole scored the lone goal in Ole Miss’ victory over Vanderbilt, earning her third career weekly award from the league.
The week prior, for the first time ever, Ole Miss players received the SEC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors for the same week following Rebel wins over No. 19 South Carolina and Texas A&M. Stunningly, Channing Foster earned the first SEC weekly honor of her career, being tabbed the offensive player of the week after assisting on Ole Miss’ game-winner against the Gamecocks and scoring a brace in the Rebels’ 2-0 victory at Texas A&M. Foster was also selected to the College Soccer News Team of the Week. Meanwhile, keeper Ashley Orkus earned her second defensive weekly recognition, posting three saves against Carolina and recording her fourth clean sheet with four stops against the Aggies.
IT JUST MEANS MO’
When SEC play rolls around, Rebel striker Mo O’Connor steps her game up. Of O’Connor’s 11 career goals, seven have come against conference opposition, including four of five goals in 2021. O’Connor’s four goals in league play is tied for the third most in the conference.
FIXTURES IN THE LINEUP
For the past five years, Channing Foster and Molly Martin have been synonymous with Ole Miss soccer. This season, both entered the Rebel record book. No one has ever played more minutes in an Ole Miss kit than Foster, who has logged 8,370 minutes on the pitch. Meanwhile, Martin has played in 95 matches in her Rebel career, one more than Foster and more than any other player in program history.
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 15 of Ole Miss’ last 22 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 13 assists this season, already the fourth most in a single season in program history. The Bowling Green, Kentucky, native is up to 28 assists in her career, ranking third all-time at Ole Miss. Stackpole has not registered an assist in Ole Miss’ last three games, her longest drought of the season.
AIR RAID OFFENSE
Taking full advantage of the height on the roster, Ole Miss has benefitted greatly from its aerial attack in 2021 with nine headed goals, six off the dome of senior Molly Martin. Additionally, eight of the Rebels’ goals have come off of either a corner kick or a long throw-in.
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 42 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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