By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss soccer team returns to the pitch this evening as they host the Alabama Crimson Tide. First kick is set for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.
“They’re ranked high in the RPI,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott said. “They are sitting at 10 points. We are sitting at 8 points (in SEC play). It’s a big big game for seeding and trying to get to (the SEC Tournament.)”
Ole Miss (8-4-2, 2-2-2 SEC) split the last two matches last week by defeating No. 19 Florida 3-2 at home before falling 2-1 on the road Sunday at Georgia. The win over Florida was just the third all-time for the Rebels since 2009. All three victories have come in Oxford.
“I think we’ll need probably over 10-11 to feel comfortable that you’re going to get one of those 10 spots. It’s a big big game against Alabama this weekend and luckily it’s just a one-game week for us,” Mott said.
Junior Channing Foster leads the team with eight goals. Her teammates Haleigh Stackpole and Julia Phillips are tied at second with four apiece.
Alabama rolls in with an identical 8-4-2 overall record to that of Ole Miss. After opening their SEC schedule with two straight losses, the Crimson Tide is undefeated in their last four going 3-0-1 with wins over Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU. Each of Alabama’s four losses in 2019 have come against ranked teams.
Alabama is led in scoring by junior forward Casey Wertz and sophomore forward Riley Mattingly who have each scored four times this season. Three Crimson Tide players are tied for third on the team in goals – Reyna Reyes, Brynn Martin and Macy Clem, each with three. Wertz is also tied for the team lead in assists, matching freshman midfielder Serena Pham with five helpers. In goal, junior Alex Plavin has started nine matches and put up a 1.22 GAA and a .725 save percentage. However, during the four-match unbeaten streak it’s been the AJ Crooks Show. Crooks has played in six matches and started five games in all, boasting a 0.88 GAA and a .773 save percentage.
Tonight’s match will be the 26th all-time meeting between the two programs in the series. Ole Miss has a commanding 17-8 advantage over the Crimson Tide. Last season, the Rebels defeated Alabama 1-0 in Tuscaloosa.