Rebels dominate Samford in soccer

Ole Miss was on the verge of dominating the first half with nothing to show for it, but Mallory Coleman picked a perfect time for her first career goal.

The sophomore struck the top of the net with a 30-yard free kick only 31 seconds prior to halftime, giving the Rebels a 1-0 lead. The one goal would be enough but two more were added for good measure as Ole Miss roughed up Samford 3-0 in an exhibition Saturday in Oxford.

"Mallory Coleman bailed us out," Coach Steve Holman said. "It was an outstanding free kick. She has taken some in practice and scored in practice. Credit to her for putting it in the upper 90."

Coleman said she had worked on the shot and knew making it would increase the momentum.

"I knew I had an opportunity to get a shot off and knew that it would pick us up more in the second half if we got a goal," the sophomore said. "I practiced bending it into the far corner and it worked."

Her assumption was correct.

The first ten minutes of the second half finalized the scoring with the Rebels connecting twice more in a three and a half minute span. A collision by Hannah Weatherly and Bulldog goalie Cayley Winters tied up the ball before junior Jennifer Hance slid into the pileup and was credited with a goal.

Shortly after, Austin Brown drove a long kick 20 yards to the far right post to close out the scoring. The Rebels dictated tempo throughout the remainder of the game. Ole Miss attempted 12 shots on the day with 10 of those coming on goal.

"I thought the second half was better than the first," Holeman said. "We didn't come out here expecting to be at our best, and that is exactly why we have an exhibition game. I thought overall we played well and did some good things. Samford definitely let us know what we need to work on and correct to get better."

Defense was the one area where Ole Miss was nearly flawless. The Bulldogs attempted only four shots and none of them were on goal. Megan Vickery and Jackie DeNova picked up the combined shutout with zero saves between them.

Ole Miss will now have nearly a week to prepare for the regular season opener at home versus Miami Friday.

"The different competition was very good," Coleman said. "It let us know where we need to improve before Miami."

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