By Adam Brown
No. 15 Ole Miss soccer opens SEC play on Friday night as they take the pitch against the Kentucky Wildcats. The first kick is set for 4 p.m. and can be seen on SEC+ Network.
Ole Miss is coming into the conference slate undefeated with a 6-0-2 record. Last week, the Rebels closed out non-conference with a 2-1 win over Western Kentucky and a tie against in-state rival Southern Mississippi.
This season, senior Taylor Radecki’s seven assists still tied for the nation lead with four other players. Her 0.88 assists per game is fourth in the nation.
Head coach Matt Mott’s team ranks second in the nation in corner kicks per game, averaging 8.88 corners. Against the Golden Eagles the Rebels took a season high 17 corner kicks.
Kentucky comes into this match with a record of 7-1 in non-conference play. The Wildcats are currently on a three-game win streak after their only loss of the season to Western Kentucky back on the first of September.
Kentucky is looking to improve in SEC play this season, only earning one win against Missouri in 2021. Ole Miss will be Kentucky’s first ranked team of the year.
Kentucky’s offense is ranked top-10 in both scoring offense at ninth and total goals at sixth. Its 26 goals lead the SEC. The Wildcats leading scorer from 2021, forward Jordy Rhodes, is off to a great start scoring five goals and two assists. Senior forward Hannah Richardson is the main goal creator this season with seven assists which is tied for most in the nation. Richardson has three goals to name as well. Twelve different players have at least one goal and six have multiple.
The defense is also on a roll, giving up just five goals in eight games, including four shutouts. Defenders Maggy Henschler, Mallory Glass and Dana Dahm are big reasons for the success. All three play significant minutes with each playing over 625 total minutes. Kentucky’s starting keeper, Tallulah Mill, has compiled 17 saves and a 0.778 save percentage.
Ole Miss edges Kentucky in the all-time series with a 12-11-1 record. The two teams have not play each other since the 2018 season. It will be the third meeting in a row played in Lexington. In 2018, the Rebels won 2-0 on the road.