Tigers' Soccer Can't Finish In SEC Tourney Opener

Auburn, Ala.-- The Auburn women's soccer team could not break its losing streak in SEC Tournament play as it fell to seventh-seeded Ole Miss 3-0 Thursday.

The loss was Auburn's third straight first-round exit from the tournament and they have not won an SEC Tournament game since 2001.

The Tigers' got off to a rotten start as the were disorganized in the defensive backfield directly following the opening kick and gave up a lightning fast goal to Rebels' midfielder Lindley Beckman only 17 seconds into the match. Beckman slipped past defender Rhonda Brooks on a pass from forward Karen Hall and was left one on one with Tigers' keeper Megan Rivera, who had no real opportunity to stop the shot.

"The first goal was frustrating," Auburn Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We didn't have anyone stepping to the ball and we looked unorganized from the start."

Still, after the quick strike the Tigers rebounded and were able to get a number of scoring chances in the first period as they out-shot the Rebels seven to three for the period. However, none of the shots were able to connect with the back of the net and Auburn took a 1-0 deficit into the break.

Ole Miss forward Kelly Renie scores the Rebels' second goal on a breakaway that goalkeeper Megan Rivera never had a chance to stop.

In the second period Auburn came out strong again, but got an early scare as Rivera went down for a couple of minutes with a leg injury after colliding with an Ole Miss forward when she came out for a ball in the box.

However, Rivera was able to continue and the Tigers' continued to press offensively to try and tie the game at one. Auburn missed a key scoring opportunity with 35 minutes remaining in the game as Sarah Steinmann tapped a header away from Ole Miss goalkeeper Ann Shelton inside the 18-yard box, which was corralled and shot on goal by Jada Stewart. However, a Rebel defender had come across to fill the void left by the keeper and was able to stop the shot.

"Soccer is a funny game," Hoppa said. "Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. You can outshoot a team in a game and just not get the goals."

Auburn outshot the Rebels 13-9, and also had 15 corner kicks to Ole Miss' four. Also, only six of Ole Miss' shots were solid scoring chances, however, the difference the Rebels were able to finish three of them with Renie Kelly scoring the final two goals.

Despite the loss, Steinmann said that she and her teammates were looking ahead to a fourth straight post-season berth. "It stings and it is still hard," she said about the loss. "But, we are going to put this in the past and we hopefully have NCAAs to look forward to."

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