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Ole Miss Soccer: GK1 – The Marnie Merritt Story

Ole Miss Soccer: GK1 – The Marnie Merritt Story


Marnie Merritt named to the SEC Preseason watch list as the keeper. Now a fifth-year senior. There’s just not much that rattles her. There’s not really a situation you can throw at her at this point that she’s not seen before. She’s a mature kicker for – no question. Around the six-yard box and Michigan and this one is off the post for the Wolverines. The posts have been busy tonight on both ends of the field. The ball chipped into the box, loose. Save by Marnie Merritt. Big time save by Merritt. You know she can make big plays. She knows what she’s doing. She knows where to tell her defense to go. And it makes her a lot more difficult. Merritt with an incredible save to keep things knotted up at one. Micaskle going to have an opportunity. Merritt came out of the net, went down. Was able to knock it away. A risky play but it was a play that she had to make. You know, you know that she can make really great saves. And we’ve seen it so many times in games. Inside the 18-yard box. Merritt with a monster save and Ole Miss able to clear. Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. She’s as brave as a lion. I feel like she’s just – she’s like the eyes of the team. And so she’s a great person to have in the net. And it’s someone that everyone on the team trusts back there. She put a lot of pressure on herself so having someone who has so much experience and like you said, a veteran goalkeeper it really adds to the confidence we have on this team. When Marnie says something, you know, she’s very genuine about it and it’s all about the team and like what’s best and the team listens too. And it’s great to have her behind you watching everything. The ball’s still alive, eight seconds. Shot on goal, saved by Merritt. Three seconds, Merritt gathers it up. Are you kidding me Marnie Merritt? Holy cow. The fifth-year senior Marnie Merritt standing on her head. It’s like a QB one, right. She’s a GK one, she really is. She’s a – she’s a starter that you rely on that you trust in, that you keep in there through good times and bad because you know you’re going to get everything you can out of her. [MUSIC] But before Marnie became on Ole Miss soccer icon, she had to find her position on the pitch amongst the boys. I wasn’t the best at the field, we’ll put it that way. So they always just kind of threw me in net and it just kind of stuck. And I played with the boys, it was a coed league for a long time. My dad every day would – taught me, he didn’t know anything about goalkeeping. We didn’t have a goalkeeper coach back then, I was 11-years old and he used football and hockey and baseball and just kind of merged them into one and said, this is how we’re going to do it. From her love emerged opportunity. As Merritt became highly touted and the cornerstone for Coach Mott’s club. I mean, I honestly, I didn’t know what Ole Miss was. My parents are Canadian, my family’s Canadian. I was living in – we were living in North Carolina and I didn’t even know that college soccer could be a potential option for me. Rob and I went and watched Marnie play with the Canadian National team. We really liked her. We got her convinced to come down on a visit. I think – I don’t remember how many she made, like five visits. I came on four visits before I committed here actually. I wanted to be sure. That’s what my parents always said, “We’re not going to do this and pull out. We’re not going to do this and decommit.” And every time she came I thought, “Okay this is it. She’s going to commit. We’re going to get her.” And she didn’t. And she’d go back. “I’m going to visit a couple more schools.” And if you know Marnie at all, she’s very meticulous, she’s very well thought out, she’s very planned. The first time I wasn’t even out of the car yet. I pulled off Chuckie Mullens and my dad rolled the windows down and said, “we’re here.” And I said, “Okay, I’m here.” Like it – I wasn’t even out of the car yet and I knew in my heart that Ole Miss was the place for me. I’ll tell you, we jumped up and down, we ran down the hall when she committed. That was a fantastic – fantastic day. In her first year as a starter, Marnie patrolled the net as the Rebels went on to have a magical 2015 season, making the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The then freshman keeper had her first shining moment donning the red and blue against Clemson as the match went into penalty kicks after a 120-minute stalemate. For me PK’s my dad leaves the stadium and I have to watch my dad leave the stadium. Like, he doesn’t watch, he’s never watched. So after I see him leave the stadium, he’s gone. So I’m like, “okay, it’s time to go, let’s go.” The pressure of the PK shootout would not impact The Rebel keeper’s confidence. But what she didn’t know is that Ole Miss would need her cleats just as much as her gloves. He’s going through the lineup and I’m like, “Okay, like Jen, Jess” like counting off the people. And then I hear my name and he’s like, “Marnie.” And I’m like, “why are they calling my name?” Like why am I taking a PK? This is weird. And then everybody is like, “you’re the fifth line.” And I’m like, “what do you mean I’m the fifth line?” You’re a beast. I think you can focus (inaudible – multiple speakers). You know, all through the whole year she’s automatic, absolutely automatic. And you know, I’ve done that before at other schools where the goal keepers taken them. So I had no trepidation, no concern whatsoever, I knew she’d make it. I kicked mine and it hit off the post and went in. And she dove and read it the right way and I like instantly, like I know that we hadn’t won but I was like, “Let go play.” So way too amped, way too amped. And the referee actually looked at me and he was like, “um you have to get back in goal.” I’m like, “what do you mean I got to get back in goal? I just scored.” He was like, “no, you have to save it now.” And I was like, “oh my God.” And so then that one went in and then Liza was the sixth kicker and Liza made hers. It’s one – like this is it, this is the one and she hit it off the post and it came back and hit me in the back but I was rolling because I was diving and it rolled and I kind of swung my legs last minute and it kind of got tangled in my legs and it went out. You watched her grow up significantly in that game. And to be able to bounce back and get refocused and do the PKs. I mean, she had a save to make, if she doesn’t save it we lose and she makes it; right. On a full-stretch going to her left. From that moment on I knew this was our goalkeeper, going to be our goalkeeper for four years. [Cheering] I’m so proud of you. To be in that moment was something that I will never forget and I will cherish for the rest of my life, not only with the team but Clemson is like an hour from my house. So to have all my family and all my friends and people who have supported me through the years to be there, was something that was really special to me. [MUSIC] Today we’re playing Hungry Hippos. I’m Marnie and this is Ella and we’re about to play Beanboozled. It’s preseason day one, today we’re at Meet the Rebs. We’re in The Grove. This is my last picture day ever. Isn’t that crazy? Hello. I’m Marnie Merritt and we’re about to go to Scouting Report. Matt said yesterday, we had ten games left. And I was like, “oh my God we have ten games left,” like that’s it. Like that’s all – like I’m guaranteed, like in an Ole Miss Rebel uniform. And like that was kind of noth – it hasn’t really hit me yet, I don’t’ think. Just because like, the big joke is, is like I’ve literally been here forever. But in life there are no guarantees. And while her coaches, teammates and Rebel Nation all wish her career would have lasted forever, it instead would come to an abrupt end. Mullem gets wide to the left, chips it toward the net, just across the bar. And Marnie Merritt gambled, got way out of the net. She is slow getting up on that play as well. It does not look good at this point. I was running outside the 18 to meet the ball, but the girl got to the ball before I did. She took a big touch outside of the 18 down the line. And I turned to go with her, my knee did not turn with me; it basically what they said was subluxed, which means my kneecap was completely out of place which is what I looked down and saw. And then when I was autocorrecting to turn even more to fix it, that’s what tore my ACL meniscus of course there was nothing to protect it. Good to see Merritt coming off the field on her own power at least. Yeah, it’s too bad that she’s coming out of the game. She’s – she’s meant so much to Ole Miss this year. And you and I’ve talked about this, every save that Marnie Merritt has made is just like putting a goal in at the other end. And she has made a huge contribution this season. Probably the best part of that day was that like I didn’t need help off the field. Like I was able to finish kind of and walk off by myself without the help of Corbin or Matt. I knew it was torn. And as soon as you start doing the tests, you know. And I obviously was hopeful. My mom was saying like, “maybe they read the MRI wrong. Like, maybe it’s not you.” And I’m like, “no Mom, it is.” Like it’s time. But I mean, Corbit was the first call. Five minutes later Matt called me obviously expressing his sincerity and like how upset he was and five minutes after that Ross Bjork called. And so that really meant a lot to me that, you know, Ross said, “whatever you need we’ve got you. Whatever you think you need, we’ve got you. Like, don’t worry, we’re going to support you. Like, just because you’re done now on the field doesn’t mean we’re not going to take care of you.” And like that really meant a lot to me. And like kind of solidified like what the five years here have meant to me. You start reflecting and you say, “okay, like this didn’t affect my recruiting path. Like it didn’t’ affect me going to play college soccer. It didn’t’ affect me during the season, like am I going to come back and play? Like, how’s my knee going to be? Like, am I still going to be the number one. Like all that kind of stuff. So it kind of was a perfect time for it to happen. Like, for me to get injured in my career because if you look at it I literally have never not played a game in my college career because of an injury. So that’s something that I was super thankful for and it was my time to go through it and it happened for a reason. I try to model my time injured kind of after Sam Sanders. So I kind of kept saying to myself, like if she can do it I can do it. It was a seamless transition. I mean, my goal was to support the team and to support Megs in there and that’s all that I could do. And it was just about supporting the girls and like, yeah obviously I’m still involved, but they don’t need me like they did in the goal, they need me in a different aspect. So whatever I could do to give a hug, a text, a great job you’ve killed it. Like that was kind of my role now. I think the fun part for me was now getting to see soccer from a different angle. Go, go get up there Molly. Get up there Molly. Stuck sit. Here we go guys, let’s go. Chop it up red. Hey, you got to check that back shoulder here, 25’s just sitting here; keep looking. Channing come on drop work back. Come on Chan. Go CiCi. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah CiCi. Yeah. Woo. My whole this was just to tell them that I’m proud of them and like how happy I am for them. And like, the year and season that we finished out on, like it was so cool to be a part of it. That big ol’ head of yours. We’re so proud of you, good job. I’m so proud. Awesome job. Good job. Hey Marn dog, that win was for you. Yeah we love you. Marnie’s in the bed somewhere watching and Marnie, this one’s for you; right. Every game for Marnie, we said that. I mean the fight of this team, the guts of this team, the freaking motivation and determination you can’t match it. Rebs came to play tonight and I am so proud that we get to see another day. She is a absolute extension of me I think and of our program. And I think she represents what Ole Miss soccer is all about great student, great student-athlete, involved in SAC, involved in all of these things. But more than anything, she loves being a Rebel. To come to a place where I’ve met some of my best friends and I’m going to have received two degrees from is something that it really means a lot to me. I can’t wait to tell my children and bring them back here and see what I got to be a part of and to be able to step on the field every Friday or Sunday night getting to wear the Ole Miss keeper jersey and know what it means and know what it stands for and know that people who have come before me have worn it with such pride and I get the honor to represent it every week for literally five years is something that really, really means a lot to me. And I will take that with me for the rest of my life even when I’m long gone Ole Miss and you guys are going to be like, “wow she really did leave.” I can’t quite fathom, I can’t get it wrapped around my head what it will be like when we go out for practice and Marnie’s not out there. It really, you know, when you think about every year, five years, two years before that we’re recruiting her. You know, I’m going to her high school games and you know, she’s been part of my family for the last seven years. And I can’t thank the girls enough for embracing a loud, obnoxious, outgoing, goofy girl from North Carolina. And like I said, this place means the world to me and it will always hold a special place in my heart. That’s all I got. Stop making me cry. (Inaudible) glad you got that on camera. Good hype for The Season. Okay, let’s keep that under control. [MUSIC]

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