Soccer gained a lot of confidence last weekend going 1-0-1 vs. Arkansas and LSU respectively. That carried over into tonight's important SEC West showdown with Auburn.
"They're feeling really good about themselves," said Ole Miss head soccer coach Steve Holeman, at Ole Miss since 1994 after serving as head coach of Auburn soccer.
Indeed they are and they should. The Rebels, who failed to make the NCAA Tournament last season after making it the year before as well as winning the SEC West, were up and down this pre-conference season. Until last weekend, that is.
Entering conference play, Ole Miss was 3-3-2 on the season. Now at 2-0-1 in league play and 5-3-3 overall, the Rebels have a chance to do something special this season. They host Alabama Sunday at 2 p.m.
"Auburn is a very good team and we are happy to get the victory," Holeman said. "We knew that if we could fight until the end and if we played hard, we could get the win. This was a great crowd tonight and two great teams. It was one of those games that took a total team effort. We had a run in the first half and Auburn had a run in the second half. I told the team going into overtime that we could score on a set piece and that was what happened."
The score was tied 1-1 after the first 10-minute overtime period, and for the second time in the last three matches, Jen Hance netted the goal to give Ole Miss a crucial division win. Just one minute after Amy Bayles early gave the Rebels a victory with a laser that bounced off the crossbar, Hance finished a corner kick play that had Bayles serve it to Christine Breaux, who headed the ball to Hannah Weatherly who then flicked it to Hance for the finish from five yards.
Holeman has been a part of the two best programs in the SEC West. Friday night's game was between the last eight SEC West champions. Ole Miss has three and Auburn five.
Tonight's win was big as the team continues on its path toward more titles this season.
Just a few yards east inside the Gillom Center, the volleyball Rebs continued their winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Mississippi State. Coach Joe Getzin's Rebels are in the thick of the SEC race again this season after making the program's first NCAA appearance ever last fall.
The Rebs won the first two games and State took the third. But Ole Miss battled to clinch it in the fourth. Getzin was happy after this one.
"Anytime you beat State, it's a good win," he said. "I feel that we controlled the match in the first two games. That's a great way to start and to set the tone."
Ole Miss is now 14-4 overall and 4-3 in SEC action. Like their soccer counterparts, the volleyball Rebs host Alabama Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
For a few weekends each fall, soccer and volleyball, who share the same facilities, locker room areas, and training room, host games at the same time. Tonight there were probably 500 fans at soccer and about the same number at volleyball. When soccer ended, several made their way over to volleyball. Both programs have developed a fan base over the years that includes quite a few students and some locals and retirees of the Oxford area.
Some tennis and baseball players were at soccer. The entire Lady Rebel basketball team was at volleyball. As soon as Holeman finished up his postgame duties, he made it to the volleyball court. As soon as volleyball wrapped up its win, he made his way to Getzin to congratulate him.
Actually they exchanged congrats. There is no substitute for winning, and on this night both coaches and their programs accomplished precisely what they set out to do.
On to Sunday.
Soccer, volleyball get key wins
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