• Ole Miss is coming off of a 2-1 victory on the road at Arkansas State on Sunday in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
• Channing Foster scored the game-winner against the Red Wolves, giving the senior three scores in the last two matches.
• Foster has peppered the opposing goal with 17 shots in those two matches. The senior leads the SEC with 6.33 shots per game this season.
• Molly Martin also bagged a goal against Arkansas State, her second of the season, both coming on the road.
• Taylor Radecki has assisted on three of Ole Miss’ six goals in the last two matches. All three helpers have come off of set pieces. In her previous two seasons, Radecki assisted on just one goal.
• Ole Miss received 29 votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll, the fourth-most among unranked teams.
• Rebel keeper Ashley Orkus was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Preseason Best XI First Team, recognizing the senior as the nation’s premier shot stopper.
• Foster also received some recognition ahead of the start of the campaign, being named a Third Team Preseason All-American by College Soccer News.
• Tying for the fifth most points in the league table last season, Ole Miss was picked to finish sixth in the 2021 SEC Preseason Coaches Poll.
• Five Rebels were selected to the 2021 SEC Preseason Watchlist, with Foster, Molly Martin, Sydney Michalak, Orkus and Haleigh Stackpole representing Ole Miss for the second straight season.
• With just four departures from last season’s roster, Ole Miss returns every goal, assist and save from the 2020 campaign to the roster in 2021. Additionally, the Rebel lineup was infused with 11 total newcomers.
SCOUTING SOUTH ALABAMA
The Jaguars are in their fifth season under the direction of head coach Richard Moodie. During his stint in Mobile, Moodie has led South Alabama to three Sun Belt regular season championships, including last season. The Jags went on to pick up a 1-0 win over Colorado in the NCAA Tournament, the first postseason victory in program history.
South Alabama is off to a 2-1 start to the season, kicking off with wins over Alabama A&M and Nicholls in Troy, Alabama, before falling on the road to No. 1 Florida State 4-0. The Jaguars were set to play Auburn this past Sunday before the match was canceled due to Hurricane Ida.
The Jaguars are led in scoring by four different players with two goals apiece this season, including Ole Miss transfer Sydney Ham. Ham has also dished out an assist, tying for the team lead in total points with Gracie Wilson and Kailey Littleford, who paces the team with three assists.
Olive Branch, Mississippi, native Allison Luckhardt is in her second season as the primary goalkeeper for South Alabama. Luckhardt has posted a 1.67 goals against average with five goals allowed and 13 saves made on the season.
Ole Miss leads the all-time series with South Alabama 6-3, including 2-1 when playing in Mobile. The Rebels will be making their fourth trip to The Cage overall, the first since 2018.
OXFORD, Miss. – A trio of Rebels found the back of the net as Ole Miss soccer won its sixth straight match, dominating South Alabama 3-0 Saturday afternoon at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
Ole Miss came out swinging as Mo O’Connor put the Rebels on the board in the 13th minute, intercepting a back pass to the South Alabama keeper and striking it into the back of the net. She and the Rebels kept their foot on the gas and pressing the Jaguar back line.
After two good looks on a corner kick and a Haleigh Stackpole free kick, Ole Miss struck again as Molly Martin punched one in off a corner kick in the 26th minute. The Rebels had a few other looks in the first half as they held a 15-1 shot advantage and had a comfortable 2-0 cushion heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the half, the Rebels looked to add to the scoring. Channing Foster and Stackpole went on to take eight and seven shots, respectively, but weren’t able to get one by the Jaguars’ Allison Luckhardt.
With under 10 minutes to play, the Rebels were still battling to put one more on the board. Stackpole dribbled one into the box and fed Madisyn Pezzino. The senior didn’t make clean contact on her shot attempt, but Ramsey Davis was there to clean things up and launch it into the upper 90 to put the final nail in the coffin.
Through the first three matches of the season, seniors Channing Foster and Molly Martin have been in the thick of the scoring action. At least one of the two players has been directly involved in five of Ole Miss’ seven goals this season. Martin got the Rebels’ off the mark in the opener at Memphis, finishing off a goal set up by Foster. A few days later, Foster recorded the fifth multi-goal game of her career with a brace against Middle Tennessee in a 4-2 Ole Miss win. Then, on Sunday, Martin got the Rebels off and running at Arkansas State with a headed goal and Foster bagged the winner in the second half as Ole Miss picked up a 2-1 win.
AT YOUR SERVICE
One of Ole Miss’ most dangerous weapons in recent action has been junior defender Taylor Radecki, who has racked up three assists over the last two matches, all three coming off of set pieces. The Florida State transfer set up a pair of goals against Middle Tennessee, heading across the corner service for Jenna Kemp’s tap in and linking up with Channing Foster on a long throw. Ole Miss once again took advantage of Radecki’s exceptionally long throw in against Arkansas State, with Molly Martin heading home the toss from the sideline.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Scoring three times in the last two matches, Channing Foster has been up to her old tricks. The three tallies has brought the senior’s career total to 38, tied with Tammy Zegledi for the fourth most in program-history, 10 behind all-time leader CeCe Kizer. Averaging a goal per game in 2021, Foster is tied for third in the SEC.
FINISHING THE JOB
After taking the lead in a match, Ole Miss has shown the ability to seal the deal. The Rebels have won each of its last 14 matches after taking the lead at any point. The last time Ole Miss surrendered a lead and failed to recapture it came in 2019, allowing a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Alabama.
RUN IT BACK
Coming off of arguably the best season in program history, Ole Miss is reloaded for the 2021 season, bringing back virtually the entire roster from a season ago. In fact, the Rebels return every single goal, assist and save from last season’s team, including a veteran core of 13 upperclassmen. Going back even further, 50 of the 58 goals scored over the last two seasons were scored by a player returning to the Rebel roster. Bolstering the stacked lineup with 11 additional newcomers, the Rebs have plenty of weapons available to attack the new campaign.
AMONG THE NATION’S ELITE
After establishing herself with a solid first season in Red and Navy in 2019, Rebel goalkeeper Ashley Orkus grabbed the nation’s attention in 2020 with one of the most decorated seasons in program history. The senior shot stopper has been recognized for her accomplishments with a selection to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First Team, garnering headlines as the premier goalkeeper in the country. This comes after making a Southeastern Conference high 85 saves with seven clean sheets a season ago, leading to a unanimous nod as the SEC Goalkeeper of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-America laurel, while also earning the Best XI First Team spot from TopDrawerSoccer to close out the season.
Coming back for one final college campaign in 2021, Channing Foster will look to accomplish something rarely possible, become a five-time All-SEC honoree. Ever since bursting onto the scene with 12 goals as a freshman in 2017, Foster has been lighting the scoreboard up for the Rebs, landing on the all-conference team every season, including back-to-back first team nods. The SEC’s active leading scorer with 37 goals, the Murray, Kentucky, native is one of just two Rebels to earn all-league distinction four times in a career, joining all-time great Danielle Johnson. Despite her prolific career, Foster enters this season with the first preseason All-America recognition of her career, being selected to the Third Team by College Soccer News.
For the second consecutive season, Channing Foster and Ashley Orkus have been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The trophy is the nation’s highest individual honor recognizing the nation’s National Player of the Year as determined by the voting of Division I coaches who are members of United Soccer Coaches. Foster and Orkus are two of six SEC players recognized on the watch list, joining Arkansas’s Parker Goins and Anna Podojil and Texas A&M’s Barbara Olivieri and Karlina Sample. The Rebel duo are also both among the top-100 players in the nation as ranked by TopDrawerSoccer. Orkus is the highest ranked goalkeeper in the land at No. 16, the third-highest ranked player in the SEC and climbing all the way from No. 63 in TDS’s 2020 preseason rankings. Meanwhile, Foster comes in at No. 57, moving up from her place at No. 69 in the final rankings of the 2020 season.
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Prior to October 31, 2020 no goalkeeper in the history of the Southeastern Conference had ever posted two assists in a single match. That changed during Ole Miss’ 4-3 win over Georgia, with Ashley Orkus crossing the midfield stripe twice to serve in free kicks, both times combining with Molly Martin to result directly in Rebel goals. Orkus wasn’t done there, the following week at Vanderbilt, Orkus again delivered a crucial assist from a free kick, teaming up with Martin once again to setup Channing Foster’s golden goal in overtime. During conference play, the three assists were good for a tie, along with Martin, for fourth most in the SEC and 18th in the nation.
OLE MISS PICKED 6TH IN SEC PRESEASON POLL
Earlier in the week, The SEC announced the 2021 Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Tuesday, with Ole Miss predicted to finish sixth in the league table as voted on by the conference’s 14 head coaches.
Ole Miss moves up a couple of places over its prediction in the past two coaches’ polls, having been selected eighth the last two seasons. The Rebels have finished higher in the league standings than the preseason prognostication in six of the last nine seasons.
KEEP AN EYE OUT
The Southeastern Conference also announced the 2021 Preseason Watch List on Tuesday, with Ole Miss being represented by Channing Foster, Molly Martin, Sydney Michalak, Ashley Orkus and Haleigh Stackpole, all of whom were also named to the 2020 edition of the watchlist.
Foster returns as the SEC’s active leading scorer, while Martin provides an arial threat as well as serving as a key cog in the spine of the Rebel formation. One of the quickest players in the conference, Michalak helped Ole Miss lock down seven clean sheets at outside back, playing in front of the SEC’s Goalkeeper of the Year in Orkus. Entering her fourth season, Stackpole is a true box-to-box player and arguably the Rebels’ top playmaker, ranking third in the conference with eight assists and adding in four goals of her own.
DRAFT DAY DELIGHT
For the second time in three years, an Ole Miss Rebel heard her name called during the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft, with senior Channing Foster being selected with the 32nd overall pick by the Chicago Red Stars, while still retaining her eligibility to suit up for the Rebels this season. The Murray, Kentucky, native is a familiar face to the Red Stars organization, having played for the club’s Women’s Premier Soccer League affiliate, helping lead the Chicago Red Stars Reserves to a WPSL Central Region Championship. The Reds Stars have also been on the wrong end of the senior’s lethal left foot, with Foster scoring a stoppage time winner for the U-23 USWNT over Chicago in the 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational.
The Rebel coaching staff scoured the entirety of the south to bring in some of the nation’s top talent for the 2021 roster, plucking seven rookies from six different states. Adding to an Ole Miss roster that features standout performers from all around the country, Mott and his staff dipped into the talent pool in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee to continue to build the roster’s depth. Mott signed defender Kaitlin Maynard, a pair of midfielders in Ellie McIntyre and Lauren Montgomery and a trio of forwards, Amber Fortenberry, Maddie Bishop and Whitaker Buchanan. He also went out and added Canadian goalkeeper Alyssa Zalac to the signing class in late January and defender Lily Logan in April.
Rounding out the 2021 class is Shea O’Malley from Cary, North Carolina. O’Malley was ranked as the No. 25 recruit in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer and was called up to the United States U17 Women’s National Team. O’Malley graduated high school early and arrived on campus early to train with the Rebels during the spring.
HITTING THE PORTAL
In addition to the crop of nine freshmen added for the new season, Ole Miss also added depth to its veteran lineup with a pair of transfers in Sydney Ash of Virginia Tech and Stella Downing of Memphis.
Ash spent two seasons in Blacksburg before joining Ole Miss and training with the Rebels in the spring of 2021. In her time at Virginia Tech, the junior defender played in 13 matches with eight starts across the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The Leesburg, Virginia, native made seven starts for VT during the fall of 2020, helping the Hokies to a pair of clean sheets and recording her first career assist against Miami. Unfortunately, Ash will spend the 2021 season on the sideline after suffering a season-ending injury in preseason training.
The Rebels have also added a player they got to see up close in personal a season ago in Memphis’ Stella Downing. A lightning quick attacker out of Vancouver, Canada, Downing played in all 12 matches for the Tigers last season, tallying a pair of assists. One of those helpers came against Ole Miss, setting up Memphis’ lone goal in the 3-1 Rebel win. At the international level, Downing earned a bronze medal in the 2018 CONCACAF U17 Women’s Championship, earning her first cap for Team Canada against the USA.
GAS IN THE TANK
Over her first three seasons as a Rebel, junior Haleigh Stackpole has proven to have deep reserves when it comes to energy. The Fort Bragg, North Carolina, native has been a fixture in the Ole Miss lineup ever since stepping foot on campus, starting all 63 matches of her collegiate career. Even more impressive, the box-to-box midfielder has hardly ever come off the field despite easily pacing the Rebels in distance ran every match, typically 9-10 miles. After ranking second on the team as a freshman at just over 84 minutes per match, Stackpole was subbed for just three total minutes in 2019, logging 1,899 minutes over 20 matches, and was one of just three players to be on the pitch for every second last season.
FOLLOW THE REBS!
Fans can keep up with all the goings on around the Ole Miss soccer program by following the Rebels on the team’s various social media platforms. You can find the Rebs on Twitter at @OleMissSoccer, on Instagram at @OfficialOleMissSoccer or on Facebook by search « Ole Miss Soccer ». Fans can also now follow Ole Miss on TikTok at @OleMissWSoccer.