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The Season: Ole Miss Soccer – One More

The Season: Ole Miss Soccer – One More


Ole Miss Soccer started off the 2018 campaign on the right foot and never looked back. The season was filled with big opportunities and the Rebels took their chances when it counted. Boy and here’s a chance for the Rebels. And how about Foster with her second of the night? Lonnie Mulligan fires away, hits the top bar and drops in for a goal. Working on Houghton with the right foot cuts it loose and scores. And CeCe Kizer sets the Ole Miss school record with her 45th career goal. Here comes CeCe Kizer. Kizer trying to outrun the defense will score for the Rebels. Stackpole will take it, blow through the wall and find the corner of the goal. Ole Miss takes down the number seven team in the country. With the SEC Tournament behind them, Ole Miss turns their attention to the NCAA Tournament where this team will have at least one more opportunity to get a win before hanging up their cleats for the year. [MUSIC] I’ve talked all year about do it for the fans, do it for your family. Find a reason to do it; right? Who you doing it for? Tonight, do it for us. Alright? Do it for the person to the left and the right of you. Do it for your teammate, for your staff, for your coaches. Do it for them tonight; right? Do it for yourself tonight. But to do that you’re going to have to sacrifice. Right? You’re going to have to sacrifice your body. You’re going to have to sacrifice your mind. Because listen, there are no guarantees. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. This team is not guaranteed to be together tomorrow. Alright? You have to earn tomorrow tonight. These two teams have played once before. It’s a match you might recall quite well. 2015 it was a game here that was won by the Rebels. A game that went to penalty kicks. It was strange, you know, thinking that CeCe and Marnie and Marissa and Tarah were there as freshmen. And we hardly knew them. And now they were seniors and leading the team back out on to that field. It was kind of a weird feeling, you know. Because we had made history there the last time we were there. And – but it was also a really exciting feeling. Because we knew that last time we were there we competed with them really well. So we knew that going into the game we had a lot of confidence. We knew that we were going to do some damage. And it was the perfect setting, perfect weather. Like you just couldn’t ask for anything more. It just felt like maybe this was where we were supposed to be. The Rebels were looking to recapture the magic of their 2015 run to the Sweet 16. And would turn to a familiar face to spark the offense early on. Pushing up field, you can see challenging the ball right there. That was Kizer, number five and she’s still in a good spot. Ole Miss towards the corner. Great save by MacIver. This front three from Ole Miss is extremely athletic and you have Kizer coming right underneath to cause that Clemson backline a lot of trouble. There was just a point where it kind of clicked. And it was – everyone was flying and tackles were being put in. I think like we realized that, hey like we don’t want this to be the last game with this group of people. Nice job of defense there by Johnson. Grace Johnson has been very good. She’s able to so far save a little neutral line. Speckmaier. Kizer feeds it into the corner. The shot it will go in for the goal. From Maddy it was a great ball. We had worked on that diagonal ball into my feet a lot. And so I kind of took a bad touch at first, but then recovered well. And then went at their center back and I saw MK coming up the right side. And then she hit the perfect ball and I just finished it low and hard in the corner. And then I freaked out and blacked out a little bit. I was just screaming when she scored. I was so excited. I thought, you know, when we got that goal in the first half we could really take on it. And I didn’t know what to do with my body. I was just jumping up and down. I didn’t know how to celebrate. I’m not used to that. And just like that it’s a one-nothing lead for Ole Miss. Ole Miss would double down on the defensive end. Taking some of Clemson’s best opportunities of the match in stride. Trying to get the feet of the middle. There is Staab. She will feed it across in front of the goal. A shot and it’s going to be a nice save inside. Here comes Courtney Jones. Nice feed and it’s to Speckmaier. And an equally nice job by Ole Miss. I think this game in particular we definitely came out and didn’t back down from any challenge. I think Molly was like on the floor probably 20 times. Like everyone was kind of putting their body on the line. And I think that’s kind of what shows like this team wants it a little bit more. And that is out of the way. The first half will wind up here at historic Riggs Field at Clemson. And Ole Miss has the lead right now by a count of one to nothing. Good enough, right it’s a really good half. Even take away the goal, it was a great half. Right? The way we played. The way we controlled the ball, our attack is good. The way we defended, they didn’t create much. Right? This is simple, you’ve got 45 minutes. You’ve got 45 minutes to get to California. You’ve got 45 minutes to win an NCAA game. But you have to go out and run. And you have to slide. And you have to tackle. And you have to give everything you have for 45 minutes. The Rebels knew what it would take to finish off the game. But Clemson would not go down quietly. Clawing their way back into the match early on in the second half. She’s been very good. Just a freshman here for this Clemson side. But, she’s been good on the year. And there’s the goal. Speckmaier with the feed. A beautiful shot and it’s knocked in for the goal. And it only took 30 seconds to get this game tied. I mean, I think a lot of times throughout the season we’ve gone down and we’ve tied up the game. And we’ve never given up. We always just keep pushing and we know that one’s going to come. I think the team really did respond well. Everyone was super positive after. No one was like, how did that even happen. You know, it was just kind of like, alright new game. You know, they tied it up. We’re going to get after them. We knew that the first half we created a lot of opportunities. For us it was a good opportunity to kind of calm ourselves down and be like, we already scored a goal, it was a great goal, we can do it again, we’re not worried about it. With the match leveled at one to one, Ole Miss would again apply the pressure to Clemson, earning several corner kicks and capitalizing on the set piece opportunities. Stackpole from the other side with a corner kick. It’s a nice feed and a shot at the goal. Just like that, Ole Miss take the lead back. Stack is almost automatic where she puts the service. And when you know where the ball’s going, it makes it a lot easier. Right? And I have just wanted a goal so bad all year. I haven’t had one. I saw the ball go back post and I knew that Grace is always on the back post. So as soon as it was going there. I was like, oh Grace has got this one for sure. I was just marked up as Clemson defender was pretty tall and I jumped over and hit it in. And I don’t even remember what happened. I just immediately like running right over to the bench. I was really excited because I never, ever score. It was just a great feeling knowing that, okay we’re one step ahead of them and if we could just hold it there then, you know, this is not the last time we’ll all be together. Taking back the lead meant defending. And Ole Miss would rise to the occasion, taming the Tigers for the rest of the match. We had to kill off the game. Right? And I think that when you go in to kind of a little bit of a defensive shell, which we did, you’ve got to be good in the air. Everyone was playing their hearts out. Morgan made some incredible saves that game. Nice feed over to Staab. Staab with the feed. But it’s going to be brought down. Here’s Staab with it. Right foot, there’s a shot and a great save. Once again, Ole Miss clears it. Come on Chan dig it out. Come on Chan. Come on. That’s a huge help as we come up on the 30-second mark. [Cheering] And that is the end of the match. [Cheering] And that completes tonight first-round match. The final score Ole Miss two, Clemson one. [Cheering] I mean, we’re going to California. So, I mean, I’m so happy and proud of this team. And we’re still dancing. 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. We’re going to Cali baby. Woo. So proud of you. So awesome. Welcome to the round of 32. Absolutely big time. And you’ve been on me about going to California, let’s go to California. [Cheering] For you guys to turn the tables back around it was massive. Absolutely, big time. And I agree with Matt, you guys totally deserve this win today. Great effort, well done. Let’s go right here. Hey, hey, hey, hey. Alright, team on three. One, two, three. Team. The Rebels reward for winning their game against Clemson was a matchup with the number one team in the country, the Stanford Cardinals. However, due to poor air quality the game would be moved just hours before kickoff. 80 miles west towards the coast. Providing just another hurdle for Ole Miss to handle. I appreciate everything we went through to prepare as best as we could. The three-hour bus ride before, no one can prepare for that. And I just – I just think this team is one of those teams that you throw anything at us and we’re going to do what we can do and fight and not complain. It’s a special night. Right? It’s a special night, we get to do this again. Right? We get to do this again. It’s a week later, or whatever it is from last time, it’s a special night. You want to make it a special night by how you play tonight. You have to leave it on the field. Alright? There’s nothing to say, there’s no reason to say, leave it out there tonight. When the game’s finished and you think back to yourself, “did I do everything I could do?” That answer has to be yes. Come on let’s go. Come on, come on. Big one, big one, big one. Let’s go, you can’t get up for this, you can’t get up. You can’t get up for this, you can’t get up. I think everyone knew obviously, we’re going to compete against the defending National Champs and I think our mindset was like, you got to beat the best to be the best. So, I think we all were really excited to just get out there and kind of show our stuff. I remember thinking like, we’re not going to lose tonight. We’re going in and we’re going to give them a battle and if they do win we’re not going to give it to them easy. While most teams have set back against Stanford, the Rebs would instead choose to press the Cardinal in possession. In other words, attack, attack and attack. And I said this to the team, “There’s 11 players out there, there’s going to be 11 of us.” You know, “let’s go at them.” And so, I think that mentality going into the game with we’re going to press them. We love to press, me and Channing love to get up there and just kind of go crazy and try and hog the ball. And so I think that it was pretty effective in not letting them be able to play the style that they wanted to and I think that overall we had great team defense in the first half we were shutting things down and Grace was shutting down their forwards like crazy and Ella was throwing her body in front of the ball and Mags was making great saves. You know, everyone was really committed. I thought we really kind of disrupted them there early. I thought we got them out of rhythm some. And I thought our team thought, “Okay we can play with these guys.” Being able to stick with them, I think everyone was kind of looking at each other like, we’re doing pretty good, like I think we can win this game. With Stanford pulling away midway through the first 45 and the clock winding down to end the half, Ole Miss would make one last push before halftime. Lonnie’s just – we’ve seen it all year, you know, you get her in space and it’s going to be hard to catch her and she ran right by two Stanford defenders, two National team defenders, and played a great ball and – And then you kind of see the Stanford’s defense and goal keeper, they all shift to that side, to the near post. Channing made a great near post run that dragged the center back with her and brought the goal keeper over. When I saw it bounce right through the goalie and Channing, I was like, oh my gosh it’s coming right for me. Like, don’t kick it over, don’t you miss this. And I just – yeah, you saw my reaction. I mean, I kind of freaked out a little bit. I think her reaction is amazing. She’s like, freaking out, she doesn’t even know what just happened. I think we were all kind of like that. And for us to get that goal, 30 seconds left in the half was just again, a confidence booster for us. Very good half; right? Very good half. Worked our butts off. We got rewarded for it. Right? You’ve knocked this down to 45 minutes. A 45-minute game. You’ve done 45 minutes, all year long. 45 minutes, leave it all on the field. Right? Have the guts to go 45 minutes, toe-to-toe with the giant. But on this night the giant would prevail. Stanford second-half performance would only reinforce that they were indeed the number-one team in the country and keep their 42-match unbeaten streak alive. They were very, very talented. And they were very composed. You know, I don’t’ – I know going into the second half, they probably didn’t’ think the team from Mississippi was going to have them tied up. But, whatever was said at halftime, it worked. I’m really happy with the way we played, the way we performed and on the night we played a really good team and we battled with them toe-to-toe for, you know, 65-70 minutes and then it got away from us. We played really well and we knew that obviously, Stanford is just high quality and never disappointed in my teammates. You know, we played great. We fought hard and it was a great game to be a part of. Guys be really proud of that effort. Alright, you just gave the top team everything they wanted in a game. Seniors, you guys have set a fantastic standard, one that you should be very proud of. You left the jersey better than you found it. And that is your job. Ultimately that’s your job to leave this place better than you found it and you absolutely did that. Team on three. One, two, three. Team. We knew that we wanted to have – go out on a good note. We wanted to finish up post-season play on a positive, you know, set it for next year, set the standard for next year. And I think that is exactly what this team did. We just came out, we played really well against Stanford. We played really well against Clemson. Two really well-known soccer programs and so it’s like we’re starting to kind of build and elevate, and elevate. But I think it just got us excited for the potential that we have especially coming up this next season. It’s a level that we can compete at. And they know they can compete at it. So, I think that motivates us going into the – into the certainly the spring, to have a good spring and get excited about this freshman class coming in. But more importantly, it sent the seniors out the right way. I really believe that. I feel really good about what we did for this senior class. What this senior class did for us. And how good a job they did leaving the program better than they found it. These moments are incredible to be a part of going and competing in the NCAA tournament is every college athlete’s dream. I hope every year that the – our program Ole Miss soccer is making the NCAA Tournament every year and then getting to the Sweet 16 and trying to push past it. And I’m always going to be an Ole Miss soccer fan wherever I’m at, I’ll be cheering from afar and always screaming Hotty Toddy. Uh huh. Okay. I’m looking into the camera. Alright. Don’t worry about it. Okay. Alright. And I almost cried and – hello Sophie. Oh it’s Ella. Well, first I say it’s coaching because what the heck were we doing at halftime, whatever I said at halftime wasn’t very good. Hi. What are you doing? I’m doing an interview right now. Hey, hey, hey. Go Rebs. [MUSIC]

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