• 57°

Ole Miss defeats Clemson, advances to NCAA tournament second round

The Ole Miss women’s soccer team defeated Clemson 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening, advancing to the second round of the tournament for only the third time in program history.

Ole Miss (13-7-1) jumped in front of Clemson (12-9) early, when a pass from CeCe Kizer to Mary Kate Smith set up the opening goal in the 24th minute. Kizer and Smith, both seniors, are part of one of the best classes in the history of Ole Miss soccer. They have now played in the NCAA Tournament three times in the past four years.

Clemson rallied back, scoring in the opening minute of the second half to tie the score. Ole Miss would answer quickly. The Rebels missed on a few subsequent chances before regaining control of the game with a 55th-minute header. Sophomore defender Grace Johnson redirected a ball off of a corner kick into the back of the net. Johnson’s first goal of the season was perhaps the Rebels’ most critical.

Fifteen minutes later in the match, it appeared that Ole Miss had gone up 3-1 on a Clemson own goal. However, the goal was called back due to an offsides. Regardless, with the 2-1 victory the Rebels became only the sixth team to score multiple goals against Clemson on the season.

Next up, Ole Miss will head to Palo Alto, California for a second-round match against Stanford on Friday. Regardless of Friday’s outcome, both the second and third rounds of the tournament will be held in Palo Alto.

Stanford is the no. 1 seed in the tournament. The Cardinals entered the NCAA Tournament as a heavy favorite. They are yet to lose in 2018, racking up a 17-0-2 record. In the first round, Stanford knocked off Seattle University 3-0 to advance to a meeting with the Rebels. The winner of Ole Miss and Stanford will play the winner of Wisconsin and Hofstra on Sunday.