WILMINGTON, N.C. - No. 24 Ole Miss soccer punched its ticket to its second Sweet 16 in program history, advancing past No. 8 national seed USC, 3-2 on penalty kicks, in a come-from-behind shootout victory. Ashley Orkus made 11 total saves as the Rebels continued their magical run in North Carolina.
Goals from Haleigh Stackpole and Ramsey Davis helped the Rebels battle back from a two-goal halftime deficit and another wild penalty shootout marked an instant classic for head coach Matt Mott and his program.
It was a tale of two halves as the Trojans jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first 45 minutes of play. Tara McKeown scored off a corner kick for USC in the 22nd minute and Zoe Burns added another one just three minutes before halftime. The Rebels only fired off two shots in the first half as they looked for a way to breakdown the Trojan backline.
Ole Miss came out for the second half looking to cut into the lead. After threatening with a pair of set pieces inside the USC half of the field, the Rebels were finally able to break through on a long throw-in. The ball found Stackpole in the box and she took advantage of an open look, burying the ball in the back of the net in the 68th minute.
With the Trojan lead cut to one, momentum started to shift in Ole Miss' favor. Ten minutes later, Davis sent a banger past the USC keeper off a Stackpole corner kick. It was the fourth goal of the young forward's career. The Rebels continued to press in an effort to take the lead in the final 12 minutes of play but would need extra time for the second consecutive match.
A minute and 47 seconds into the first overtime period, the Rebels were called for a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the Trojans. Orkus stepped up and made a fantastic save, diving to her left to keep the Rebels' chances alive and provide some foreshadowing for the future. The junior recorded four total saves in the 10 minute period. Neither team had a great look in the second overtime, sending the game to a penalty shootout.
The Rebels seemed to have all the energy and it showed as Channing Foster started things off with a score and Orkus blocked the first two Trojan attempts. USC managed to tie things up on the third PK and matched Molly Martin by making the fourth kick. O'Connor stepped up once again, sending the deciding shot into the net with more than enough pace, and Orkus slammed the door on USC to cap off the comeback.
Ole Miss will now move on to Cary, North Carolina, where the remainder of the NCAA Soccer Championship will take place. The Rebels will play the winner of tomorrow's Duke vs. Arizona State game on Wednesday, May 5, at noon CT at WakeMed.