Rebels bounced from SEC tourney

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, November 5, 2015

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — In the quarterfinals of the 2015 Southeastern Conference Tournament, the No. 17 Ole Miss soccer team fell in a heartbreaking match, 2-0, after two late Texas A&M goals.

The setback marked the first time this season that the Rebels (13-5-2) have suffered back-to-back losses.

“I don’t think we were clean enough today. We really couldn’t get any rhythm. We were pretty fortunate to get to halftime at 0-0,” said head coach Matthew Mott. “I thought we regrouped and had a good discussion about what we wanted to do in the second half. We came out and had a few moments that were never good enough, or clean enough, in front of the goal. Texas A&M scored a good goal and they pushed forward and got another one.”

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Texas A&M (14-5-1) found a way to control the ball for much of the match, finding the back of the net in the 75th and 81st minutes, while outshooting the Rebels 19-7. However, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Marnie Merritt tied her career-high in saves. Merritt marked eight saves on the day, which she had previously done against Florida and Missouri.

Strong defense
The trademark of the first half was certainly the Rebel defense. Merritt tallied five saves during the top half alone to keep Ole Miss in the contest. Second Team All-SEC defender Jessica Hiskey also held a notable presence as she helped protect the goal on the backline. Despite the Aggie’s nine shots, with five on goal, the two teams remained scoreless as they entered halftime. The best opportunity for Ole Miss came in the 29th minute when Gretchen Harknett’s shot barely missed and bounced off of the right post.

The Aggies were the first to find a way into the goal late in the second half. With 15 minutes remaining, Texas A&M’s Ally Watt scored as she went one-on-one against Merritt. Texas A&M found a way to score again as Emily Bates sent a ball into the lower left side of the goal.