Rebels make history, advance to Sweet 16

Published 9:57 am Sunday, November 22, 2015

CLEMSON, S.C. — For the first time in school history, the Ole Miss soccer team has advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships. After the game remained in a 1-1 standstill through 110 minutes, the No. 24 Rebels claimed a 5-4 advantage in penalty kicks to knock off No. 7 Clemson Friday evening.

For 74 minutes, the two teams played to a 0-0 draw. But at the 74:40 mark, senior Olivia Harrison punched one in off a cross from Bethany Bunker to give the visiting Rebels (14-5-3) a 1-0 advantage.

That score held all the way up until the final minute, when Clemson pressured and tied it up as the final seconds ticket off the clock. Following two uneventful overtime periods, the two teams headed for a penalty shootout that offered even more drama.

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Addie Forbus was successful on her PK attempt, as was Gretchen Harknett to put the Rebels up 2-0 after a clear Clemson miss on the Tigers’ first attempt. Eventually, Jessica Hiskey and goalkeeper Marnie Merritt were both successful, before Liza Harbin was credited with the game-winner.

Merritt, who had already played an outstanding 110 minutes against a physical Clemson side, made stops at the right time in the shootout, and even provided a score of her own to help lead the Rebels past the ACC club.

The victory marked the third this season for Ole Miss against a top-10 team (Oct. 11 vs. No. 10 South Carolina, Oct. 16 vs. No. 10 Auburn). Harrison’s goal in the second half was the 22nd of her career and second of the season.

Familiar foe
Friday’s results, after Texas A&M knocked off ACC foe North Carolina, set up an all-SEC showdown today at Riggs Field in Clemson at 1 p.m. The match will be the third this season between the Aggies and Rebels, as the two teams split the previous two meetings (4-3 win Oct. 25, 2-0 loss Nov. 4).