TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Freshman Gretchen Harknett notched her first goal of the season, but the Rebels couldn’t complete a second half rally as No. 22 Ole Miss (16-6-2) saw its season come to an end with a 3-1 loss to No. 3 Florida State (20-1-3) in the second round of the NCAA TournamentThursday night.
The loss to the Seminoles, the top-seed in the region, ended a record season for the Rebels who set a new mark for wins in a season and saw a pair of Rebels take over the top spot of career stat lists along the way. Senior forward Rafaelle Souza became the school’s all-time leading goal scorer with 44, while junior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick became the school’s all-time win leader with 34 for her career after the 16-win campaign in 2013.
It marks the second time in the history of the program for the Rebels to advance past the first round in the NCAA Tournament through five appearances all-time.
“I’m really proud of the effort we put in; I felt we created some chances early, but in the end we didn’t create enough,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “We worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a good spot early in the game and just couldn’t get our first goal fast enough. I’m really happy with the way our kids battled and our energy and we just left it all out there on the field tonight.
“This is a big step for our program. We owe a lot to our senior class that has carried us all year. It’s just unfortunate that our season doesn’t move on. I wish Florida State nothing but the best.”
The two teams missed on chances in the first half of the opening period with the Seminoles getting the first opportunity on a shot that hit the crossbar and taking the deflection and sending the following shot high.
Ole Miss got two solid chances off intercepted passes, but was unable to convert on either chance. The first saw Olivia Harrison step in to intercept a back pass in the FSU box and fire a shot at the goal, but the Seminole keeper posted the save.
The second chance came when Florida State attempted a short corner from the far side of the field and the Rebels’ Bethany Bunker stepped between the players and intercepted the kick. She took off down the far sideline, traveling the length of the field before the Seminole defense would catch up to her and cut off her lane to the goal and take the ball away.
Florida State got on the board in the 27th minute when Dagny Brynjarsdottir fired the ball into the net from 12 yards out after gathering the ball on a deflection off a previous shot. The Seminoles came down the field and took the first shot from the top of the box on the near side with the Rebels deflecting the shot. It caromed right back to the feet of Brynjarsdottir, who fired it into the net to give Florida State the 1-0 lead.
The Rebels got another chance with a free kick outside the far side of the box and an ensuing corner, but the Seminoles deflected the corner and countered successfully with a breakaway goal from Jamia Fields to take a 2-0 lead on the Rebels in the 41st minute.
Ole Miss got one more chance in the half when Rafaelle Souza sent in a cross from the near side to Bunker, but the shot was wide as Florida State took a 2-0 lead into the half.
The two teams sparred to open the second half before the Rebels got on the board in the 70th minute on the first goal of the season from Harknett.
Following a corner kick by the Rebels that was cleared by Florida State, Harknett gathered the ball off the clearance and dribbled up the middle of the field, firing her shot from 25 yards out and past the keeper into the goal to get Ole Miss on the board.
The Seminoles extended the lead back to two goals in the 78th minute when Brynjarsdottir again found the back of the net, this time off a header past the near post on a cross from the near side by Megan Campbell.
Ole Miss was unable to come up with another rally through the final 12 minutes of play Florida State advanced to face Colorado in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.
—Bill Bunting, Ole Miss Sports Information