The Ole Miss soccer team opens the 2017 campaign this evening against Alabama State at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. First kick in the match is slated for 7 p.m.
Ole Miss returns 14 players from last year’s squad, with 12 newcomers suiting up for the red and blue this season.
Coach Matt Mott returns 54 percent of the goal production from 2016, which is highlighted by the play of junior CeCe Kizer’s five goals. Kizer joins her teammates junior Marine Merritt and senior Lisa Harbin on the SEC Preseason watch list.
In an exhibition match last Friday night, the Rebels took down South Alabama by the score of 1-0.
The defending champions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Alabama State enters its 2017 campaign fresh off an NCAA Tournament appearance. The Hornets, led by 11-year head coach Jodie Smith, took on No. 1 South Carolina in last season’s NCAA Tournament after running through the SWAC Tournament to earn the automatic bid. The Hornets turned in an 11-10-1 overall record and 7-2-1 mark in SWAC action. ASU returns the reigning SWAC Co-Player of the Year in Ariela Lewis, who led the team with 17 goals and 42 total points in 2016.
Ole Miss and Alabama State have never met on the pitch prior to tonight’s match. However, the Rebels are 14-5-3 all-time in season openers, including a 5-0-2 mark in the last eight openers under Mott.
After tonight’s match, Ole Miss will have a quick turnaround as they will face Northwestern State at home on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.