By Adam Brown
No. 21 Ole Miss soccer takes the pitch on Thursday against the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers in the semifinal round of the SEC Soccer Tournament. The match is set for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network.
Ole Miss (12-4-3, 6-3-1 SEC) is coming off of a 1-0 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.
Coach Matt Mott’s club earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament with 19 points in the league table, tied for the highest seed for Ole Miss since garnering the No. 2 seed in 2005.
Coming into the tournament, Ole Miss had four players earn All-SEC laurels in first team honorees Ashley Orkus and Channing Foster and second team selections Haleigh Stackpole and Molly Martin. Orkus was also named the SEC Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season. Meanwhile, Foster earned her fifth All-SEC designation, the first player in league history to do so, while Stackpole and Martin were named All-SEC for the first time in their careers.
The No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament, Tennessee has posted a 16-2 record on the season with ranked wins over Auburn and South Carolina. The Vols are in the midst of a three-match winning streak, including Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Florida in the quarterfinals in Orange Beach.
The Volunteers are led offensively by Second Team All-SEC honoree Jaida Thomas, who has scored 10 goals and added four assists for 24 total points. SEC Freshman of the Year Taylor Huff ranks second on the team with eight goals. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s lone First Team All-SEC honoree, Mackenzie George, paces UT with eight assists.
Among a group of three keepers that have seen time, junior Lindsey Romig has been the bell cow with 16 starts between the posts. Romig has posted a 0.73 goals against average with a .814 save percentage on 48 stops.
This will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the two programs. Tennessee leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 16-4-2, winning each of the last three meetings and eight of the last nine matchups. The Rebels and Volunteers have met in the SEC Tournament three times previously, with UT owning a slight 2-1 advantage.