Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Ole Miss Takes on Mississippi State for the Magnolia Cup

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

Ole Miss soccer returns to the pitch on Thursday as they play host to in-state rival Mississippi State. The first kick is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network.

Ole Miss (9-3-2, 3-3-0 SEC) looks to bounce back after coming came short in a 2-1 loss to Texas A&M on Sunday. The Rebels fell to .500 in conference play.

This season, Ole Miss has scored 10 of their 27 goals in the first 20 minutes of the match.

Senior froward Mo O’Connor scored her sixth goal of the season and her second in SEC play on a penalty kick against Texas A&M. O’Connor is top-5 in the SEC in goals.

Mississippi State is 9-2-3 overall and 3-2-1 in the conference. It took 13 games for the Bulldogs to lose their game, starting 9-0-3 before losing their last two matches to No. 8 South Carolina and Auburn.

“They’ve got a good RPI and they’re ranked nationally … James is doing a great job down there, lot of respect for those guys,” head coach Matt Mott said. “But they’re a physical, tough team that we got to be ready for a tough match.”

Mississippi State began conference play with a huge win over current No. 9 Arkansas. It’s next two games are on the road against No. 20 Ole Miss and at home against No. 3 Alabama.

The youth on the Bulldog offense have been the leading producers of points. Freshman forward Maggie Wadsworth leads the team with seven goals and 16 points, including four game-winning goals which is ranked seventh in the nation. Wadsworth earned back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors in weeks four and five. Sophomore Haley McWhirter has four goals and four assists for 12 points. Another freshman in Alivia Buxton earned SEC Freshman of the Week in week one, scoring a brace against FIU.

The Mississippi State defense is the strength of the team, compiling nine shutouts and giving up just 6 goals all season. Goalkeeper Maddy Anderson was off to a career season, tallying 23 saves and just four goals allowed for 0.33 goals against average which is third best in the nation. Anderson has career season highs in goals against average, save percentage and shutouts. Sophomore keeper Mac Titus has played majority of the minutes the last two games.

Ole Miss leads the all-time series over Mississippi State with a 15-8-2 record. The Rebels last held the Magnolia Cup after a 2-1 win in November of 2019. Ole Miss is 8-3-02 when playing the Bulldogs in Oxford, outscoring them 27-8.

“(Magnolia Cup) has been down there for the last couple of seasons so certainly motivated to kick off against Mississippi State, again 6 p.m.,” Mott said. “Thursday night Hoping for a big crowd, Rebel Nation has been great for our team.”


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