COLLEGE STATION, Texas (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Playing in a tough environment in chilly conditions, Ole Miss came up on the wrong end of a hard fought battle against No. 17 Texas A&M, falling 2-1 at Ellis Field.
In the first half, Ole Miss (9-6-3, 3-4-3 SEC) struggled to connect its passes, particularly in the final third of the field. The Rebels managed just a couple of shots in the first 45 minutes and never really threatened Aggie goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell's goal.
On the other side of the pitch, Ole Miss worked hard to contain a dangerous Texas A&M (12-3-3, 7-2-1 SEC) attack and for the most part successfully kept its shape and made life difficult for the Aggies. Still, the Rebels needed every bit of Ashley Orkus' eight first half saves, including a few spectacular tips over the bar.
Following the halftime break, the match evened out and both teams found some success going forward.
After Ally Watt failed to capitalize on a 56th minute breakaway opportunity, Jimena Lopez found the top right corner from the top of the box to put the Aggies up 1-0 in the 59th minute.
However, Ole Miss answered right back in the 61st minute. After Haleigh Stackpole's shot in the box was blocked, the sophomore recollected the ball and dished to Channing Foster, who finished past a diving Caldwell to equalize at a goal apiece.
Both sides kept on pressing and with about 11 minutes to go, Abby Grace was able to slot home a bouncing ball in the box off of a corner to regain the lead for Texas A&M. The Rebels kept fighting in search of an equalizer but couldn't find a second goal as the home team took the result.
Despite the loss, Ole Miss has clinched a bid to the SEC Tournament for the fifth-straight season. The Rebels will be the eighth seed and will play ninth seed Mississippi State at 3:30 p.m. CT in a rematch of this season's 1-1 draw in Starkville.