2009 Ole Miss Rebels Soccer Preview
The Lady Rebels in 2008 had a season of inconsistency. The team showed flashes of real talent winning some games against superior opponents that many people did not expect them to win. But the team also showed some real weaknesses at times, struggling against a number of teams that were widely considered to be inferior opponents. The end result of this up and down type of game play was a 7-10-3 record overall, and a 5-5-1 mark within the SEC. Overall, the season was exactly what those numbers indicate. Average. However, the signs of life shown against the superior teams on its schedule in 2008 should be viewed as a positive sign for the future.
What's interesting about this team's performance in 2008 is that, despite its scheduling a nonconference record which would be viewed fairly objectively as inferior in terms of opponents' talent, actually their managed a better record in the SEC conference (5-5-1) than it did against nonconference opponents (2-5-2). Among their biggest non-conference matchups, ole miss managed a big win over Oklahoma (2-1), and over Southern Miss (1-0), the generally speaking, the team underperformed out of the conference. It was not until ole miss entered its SEC conference play that it began to play at a higher level. Its first conference date of the season was a one to nothing win over a LSU, then the ninth ranked team in the country. And its best stretch of play over the season was its three game winning streak late in the season over SEC rivals Kentucky, Auburn, and Mississippi State.
One quick glance at the statistics from 2008 and it's fairly obvious when the leader among the offense of players was. Jennifer Hance was the only 20 point scorer on the team, and led the team in goals with seven. The offense revolved around her. Hance was accompanied by two other contributing players in Taylor Cunningham who managed six goals and 14 total points as well as Hanna Weatherly, who managed 10 points total on three goals. And in addition to the somewhat meager numbers, the lack of depth was also a problem as beyond the aforementioned trio only one additional player , Amy Bales, scored three goals or more. The Lady Rebels ran somewhat of a goaltender by committee approach in 2008. However Megan Vickery started the most games, and was the most successful (with an average of 1.06 goals allowed per game).
Ole Miss plays its home games at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium, a modern and comprehensive complex that debuted in 1997, and has offered a sizeable home field advantage to the Lady Rebels since its opening. The Lady Rebels have won 71% of their matches over the course of the past 12 seasons. The Ole Miss Soccer Stadium has been one of the most frequented sports facilities in the state of Mississippi over the course of the past decade, and has been hands down the highest drawing facility for any Ole Miss women's activity. It's 2001 matchup vs. rival Mississippi State grew nearly 1,800 fans, the highest total in the history of the facility.
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