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No. 13 Ole Miss Wins Thriller Over No. 19 Texas A&M

On a rainy Sunday evening in College Station, No. 13 Ole Miss and No. 19 Texas A&M battled in a true SEC thriller at Ellis Field. Behind four points from both Addie Fobus (one goal, two assists) and CeCe Kizer(2 goals), the Rebels (13-3-2, 7-3-0 SEC) emerged with a 4-3 victory over the Aggies (13-5-0, 6-4-0 SEC) for their fifth consecutive win.

With the victory, the nationally ranked Rebels have wrapped up at least being the No. 3 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament. The win also keeps Ole Miss just one point behind Florida and Missouri in the SEC standings with one game remaining.

“We played way better soccer tonight. It was two great top-20 soccer teams playing against each other and it was that kind of match. It was an NCAA Tournament level match,” said head coach Matthew Mott “I am just really happy to get the win. For us to come out and score one really early was huge. Then for them to tie it, and the lead to go back and forth, it was great. The weather was crazy with the wind down the field, but they battled through it. We talk about tougher than the rest, and we were tonight.”

The Rebels became the first team to defeat Texas A&M at Ellis Field in 18 matches. The Aggies were 16-0-1 over the past 17 contests on their home pitch, including a 14-match winning streak. Texas A&M held opponents to a combined two goals during the impressive streak, but Ole Miss was able to put all four shots on goal into the back of the net throughout the 90 minutes of play.

The dynamic duo of Kizer and Forbus continued to lead the attack for the Rebels. Kizer tallied her third multi-goal game of the season, scoring two goals less than two minutes apart, with her game-winning goal on an assist from Forbus. Forbus also marked a goal on the night to go along with her two assists. The three goals gave the pair a combined 25 goals on the season.

For the sixth time this season, the Rebels were able to score within the first five minutes of a match when junior Gretchen Harknett’s strike went into the net in just the second minute of the game. From there, the action did not slow down as both teams remained near even in the numbers. Texas A&M barely outshot Ole Miss, 17-14, including nine shots on goal.

“What can you say about Addie ForbusCeCe Kizer and Gretchen Harknett? They were great. They are just putting themselves in great spots to score goals,” mentioned Coach Mott. “Kizer is just lights out right now. That is really special for us. We have a big game on Thursday, but I am really happy with the team and the level they are playing at.”

The shootout ended an impressive streak for the backline and goalkeeper Marnie Merritt, as it was the first time the Rebels have given up a goal in 246 straight minutes. Merritt also had an impressive five saves on the night, with one team save.

“Texas A&M is a tough place to come and play, especially for a goalkeeper. Marnie Merritt was great. She gave up three goals, but they were three great Aggie goals,” noted Mott.

Scoring early and often has been a trademark for Ole Miss in 2015 and once again, the Rebels wasted no time after taking to the pitch. In the second minute, Bethany Bunker sent a cross into Harknett. Harknett then sent the ball past the Aggie goalkeeper and into the net to give Ole Miss a 1-0 lead. Both teams continued the aggressive attack as the SEC battle went on. In the 20th minute, Texas A&M found an equalizer when sophomore Mikaela Harvey sent the ball into the upper-90 of the left side of the goal beyond Merritt’s diving reach to bring the score to 1-1.

Shortly after the Aggie goal, Ole Miss regained the lead as Forbus took the assist from Olivia Harrison for the second Rebel goal of the night. Both teams retreated to the locker room for halftime with Ole Miss ahead by a 2-1 margin.

In the second half, the Aggies were able to score on a penalty kick in the 54th minute to even the score at 2-2. It wasn’t until the 63rd minute that the Rebels trailed for the first time in six games. Texas A&M’s Haley Pounds scored her 11th goal of the season on a corner kick to give the Aggies the 3-2 advantage.

The change in momentum didn’t affect the Rebels as they continued to fight and quickly swayed the game into their favor. Ole Miss looked no further than to its leading scorer, Kizer, who scored back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart. The freshman’s first goal came in the 70th minute with a combined assist from Jennifer Miller and Forbus on a kick from near the penalty box. Kizer wasted little time as Miller again sent the ball into Forbus and her great pass connected with Kizer. Two minutes later, the Overland Park, Kansas native struck again and her ball from about eight yards out made it into the right side of the net. The goal proved to be the difference, Kizer’s seventh game winner of the season, as Ole Miss claimed the 4-3 victory to keep its winning streak alive.

“We need to get home and get back to get regenerated,” said Mott. “We need to get back and celebrate these seniors the right way for senior night. They have meant so much for this program and they have had such a good year. We need to have Rebel Nation come out and support these seniors because they have meant the world to this program.”

Ole Miss is back in action Thursday to celebrate six senior Rebels for senior night and the last game of the regular season. The Rebels will face off against Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. CT. As always, fans can tune into the match on SEC Network+.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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