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Ole Miss Soccer Reports to Campus as Preseason Practice Begins

Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications
Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications

The Ole Miss soccer team was back in action on a picture perfect Wednesday morning, beginning preseason training in preparation for the upcoming season.

The Rebels will kick off the 2015 season with an exhibition match on August 14 at 6 p.m. against the University of Central Arkansas before heading to Ft. Myers, Florida to face Florida Gulf Coast on August 21 at 6 p.m.

“Session one went well, it was high intensity and the team practiced at a high level,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “The girls worked extremely hard this summer because they have returned in great shape.”

“The speed on our team is showing up quickly. We have a lot of team speed in most areas. Our speed was one thing that stood out to me the most. The new players look sharp and the returners have come back looking the same way,” noted Mott.

The Rebels made their much anticipated return to campus on Tuesday. Student-athletes were given their new Nike gear, as well as brand-new powder blue uniforms. The team then gathered together for headshots and team photos, before meeting with various departments of athletics administration, such as compliance. The night concluded with a team meeting and dinner before the Rebels took the field on Wednesday morning.

Twenty-six Rebels ran out on the field for the first of two practices Wednesday, including a total of 20 veterans.

Entering Coach Mott’s fifth year, he and the Ole Miss soccer team look for continued success after finishing the 2014 campaign with an overall record of 8-6-5. Coach Mott is joined in leading the Rebels by associate head coach Rob Thompson, as well as new assistant coach, Melissa Terry. The coaching staff and team will strive for greatness on and off the field with the help of a great group of leaders.

“The leadership is really what stands out. We have great leadership from every position. These senior leaders and how they will be able to lead the team will be one of the biggest keys to our success this season,” said Mott. “We have a big senior class, but we also have a big junior class that has gotten a lot of minutes and a lot of playing time. It is a veteran team for sure, and we are looking forward to this season.”

After the first of several two-a-days for the Rebels, the incoming players are finding their roles as the entire team looks to continue sharpening their skills.

“I think we have to get the team sharpened up. They were here all summer, so they did not go out and play in summer league teams. This is good because they are all extremely fit and ready to go. The other side of that is they haven’t spent as much time with the ball if they would have played on a summer league team. Getting them back to game speed and cleaning things up is really what we want to get out of preseason training,” said Mott. “The biggest change for the freshmen is the speed, but they worked hard and really stayed in it. For a lot of them it was hard to tell who the freshmen were and who the returners were out on the field.”

The Rebels will continue training Wednesday night at with 11-on-11 drills.

Although the Rebels lost all-time leading goalkeeper Kelly McCormick (42 career wins), the future is bright for this squad.

Two incredibly skilled student-athletes, redshirt freshman Marnie Merritt and redshirt sophomore Madi Killeen, will square off for the coveted role of goalkeeper.

Three of the noted returners include junior Addie Forbus and seniors Olivia Harrison and Jessica Hiskey. Forbus is the team’s top returning players in both goals (7) and points (18). Harrison and Hiskey top off right below Forbus with seven goals and 15 points, and six goals and 14 points, respectively. These three Rebels combined for 20 of the team’s 30 goals. Overall, the team will return 8 players who notched goals during the 2014 season.

The combination of the leadership, talent and poise of the returning team members along with the eager, and equally as talented, incoming players, will surely make for an exciting 2015 season.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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