Freshman Amanda Verkin and sophomore Chrissy Strini each scored their second goal in as many games as the Ole Miss soccer team shut out Iowa State 2-0 on Sunday to remain undefeated after the opening weekend of the season.
On the hot afternoon, the Rebels were again led by a stingy defense that only allowed four shots to the Cyclones, all of which were saved by sophomore goalkeeper Megan Vickery, who earned her second win.
"This is a great start," said Ole Miss head coach Steve Holeman, who has led Ole Miss to a 2-0 start for the fourth consecutive season. "We have a great attitude this year to take things one game at a time. We make a point to never look past anyone, and today they looked at Iowa State and took it to them. The girls played hard. They possessed well and defended well."
The Rebels appeared to dominate the Cyclones from start to finish, out-shooting them 13-4 and maintaining possession for long stretches of time.
Verkin, a freshman from Sugar Land, Texas, has gotten off to a sizzling start for the Rebels, scoring in her first two collegiate matches. She stuck the ball in the net from about 10 yards out 32 minutes into the game after a long-distance pass from Strini.
"Right now, she's our super sub," said Holeman of Verkin. "We bring her off the bench and she capitalizes on her opportunities. She gets one shot, one good scoring opportunity, and she puts it in the back of the net. That's what we need. We need someone to step up every game. That's also a reflection of our depth, to have someone come off the bench and score a goal for us."
Strini added her goal at the 63:24 mark after a touch pass from freshman Jennifer Hance. With the goal, Strini moves her team-leading point total to five.
The Rebels' have managed four goals in their first two matches despite the absence of senior all-star forward Kelly Renie, who is sitting out the weekend due to injury. Renie figures to be one of the team's leading goal-scorers when she returns. Ole Miss has also been without the services of junior defender Elise Karlowicz this weekend.
Holeman had good things to say about an Iowa State team that may have been slowed by the Mississippi heat.
"I think (the heat) was a big factor and played to our advantage because we've been training in this heat and I can't imagine it was as hot for Iowa State in their preseason," Holeman said. "If we were to play this game on a Friday night you'd probably see a different result - maybe not a different score line, but you'd see a different game. They're a lot more competitive when it's a little cooler and I think they're going to do well this season."
Next up for the Rebels is a trip to Orlando, Fla., next weekend for the UCF Invitational. Matches are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3 against UCF and Monday, Sept. 5 against Kent State.
Ole Miss returns to action in Oxford on Thursday, Sept. 8, with a 7 p.m. matchup against Saint Louis, who upset the Rebels last season in St. Louis. After that, the Rebels will host perennial power Florida State, who travels to Oxford the following Sunday for a Noon match.
UM soccer beats Iowa State; now 2-0 on season
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