CLEMSON, S.C. - Ole Miss lost its lead quickly in the second half but showed its resolve, regaining the advantage and upending No. 25 Clemson 2-1 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In the second round, Ole Miss will travel to Palo Alto, California, taking on the No. 1 Cardinal of Stanford. Both the second and third rounds will be hosted in Palo Alto.
Following a fairly even start through the early stages of the match, the Rebels (13-7-1) grabbed the lead in the 24th-minute as CeCe Kizer passed up an opportunity to shoot and slid a ball in to Mary Kate Smith. The captain made no mistake that the decision was a good one, driving a powerful shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
From there, the Ole Miss defense did well to hold Clemson (12-9) from producing many if any real threats to the opposite goal, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime.
Following the break, it took the Tigers less than a minute to level the score, with Miranda Weslake finishing off of assists from Mariana Speckmaier and Kimber Haley.
It would have been easy for the early equalizer to deflate the Rebels. Instead, Ole Miss dialed up the intensity. Knocking on the door numerous times before breaking through to re-take the lead in the 55th-minute.
The Rebels earned a corner on the right side of the field and sent freshman Haleigh Stackpole to the flag to send it in. Stackpole whipped in a good ball and Grace Johnson rose above everyone, squaring up a header that gave the keeper to chance to make the save.
The Rebels appeared to double their lead with about 20 minutes to goal on an own-goal but had the score whipped away on an offsides call. In the end, it was academic as Ole Miss was able to close out the victory and keep its season alive.
- The victory is Ole Miss' fourth-ever in the NCAA Tournament, send the Rebels to the second round for the third-time in program-history.
- The Rebels are 2-0 vs. Clemson in the NCAA Tournament, also defeating the Tigers on the road in the second round in 2015.
- Grace Johnson's game-winning goal was her first of the season, the fourth score of the sophomore's career.
- The Rebels are just the sixth team in 2018 to score multiple goals against the Tigers.
- Ole Miss' second round matchup at Stanford will be the Rebels' first-ever meeting with the Cardinal.