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Soccer opens SEC home schedule against Auburn and Alabama

Petre Thomas/The Daily Mississippian


After two heartbreaking losses to Arkansas and LSU on the road, the Rebels (4-5-1, 0-2 SEC) return home for a pair of tough conference games against No. 20 Auburn (8-1-1; 2-0 SEC) and Alabama (6-3-1; 1-1 SEC).

“We’ve been on the road a lot. We’re road warriors,” coach Matt Mott said of his team’s road schedule in the first half of the season.

The Rebels have a disappointing road record of 1-4-1, but are undefeated in their first three home games and have outscored opponents 16-1 in those games. The team is going to need all the offense it can muster when nationally ranked Auburn comes into Oxford Friday night. The Tigers are coming off convincing wins against Kentucky (4-1) and Vanderbilt (3-0) this past weekend.

“They are playing great,” Mott said. “(Auburn) probably has one of the best players in the country in Katy Frierson at midfield, who is a great player that we will have to deal with.”

The senior leads the Tigers with eight points (three goals and eight assists). After losing their first game of the season to Wake Forest, Auburn has gone undefeated in its last nine matches, including a 1-0 win over No. 4 Duke with the help of a very potent offense.

“They’re scoring a bunch of goals and not allowing very many, so it will be a very difficult game for us on Friday,” Mott said.

The Rebels’ backfield has looked shaky the past couple of games, having allowed nine goals in their last three outings, and will be challenged again against the Tigers.

“We gave up some goals this weekend that we typically don’t,” Mott said. “We’ve got to tighten up back there. We’ve kind of shifted some people around back there and we got to get a little better positioning.”

After their game against Auburn, Ole Miss will then turn its attention to Alabama who splits its games last weekend with a 2-1 win over Vanderbilt and a 4-1 loss to Kentucky.

“They too have some very dangerous players,” Mott said. “A great goalkeeper. She’s a Canadian National Team goalkeeper. They’re very tough to breakdown and it’ll be a good test for us.”

The goalkeeper Mott mentioned is senior Justine Bernier of Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Bernier is having a solid season. In nine games this season, she has allowed just six goals and recorded 51 saves and four shutouts.

Friday night’s match against Auburn is set for a 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon’s match against Alabama is set for 1 p.m.. Both games will be at the Ole Miss Soccer Complex.