• 68°

Ole Miss soccer picked to finish seventh in SEC

SEC coaches expect a slight improvement for Ole Miss’ soccer team this fall.

The Rebels were picked to finish seventh in the league’s preseason coaches poll released Tuesday by the SEC office. Florida was picked to win the conference while the SEC’s reigning champion, South Carolina, was predicted to finish fourth.

Ole Miss finished ninth last season with a 10-7-3 record, including a 3-5-2 mark within the conference. It was good enough for the program’s second NCAA Tournament berth in three seasons, but the Rebels are counting on the experience of 16 returning letterwinners to help them improve on last year’s showing headlined by All-SEC performers CeCe Kizer and Channing Foster in the midfield.

Kizer and Foster were two of the SEC’s top three scorers a season ago, combining for 28 goals as the key cogs in one of the league’s top offenses. The Rebels will play this season without former Lafayette High standout Alley Houghton, who suffered a torn Achilles earlier this summer, but welcome six newcomers to the fold.

Ole Miss tuned up for the season with a 3-0 exhibition win over Central Arkansas last week. The Rebels will open the season Friday at 7 p.m. against Louisiana at the Ole Miss Soccer Complex before staying home Sunday for a 6 p.m. match against Western Kentucky.