Ole Miss Soccer Position Preview: Midfielders
OXFORD, Miss. – With 16 players returning from last season’s NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, the Rebels are ready to run it back. As No. 23 Ole Miss soccer prepares to kick off its season in a week, OleMissSports.com breaks down the talent at midfield.
Fifth year seniors Channing Foster and Molly Martin look to lead the team from the middle of the pitch. Using their extra year of eligibility, the veteran duo has their sights set on a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in their careers.
They are joined by senior Haleigh Stackpole and juniors Jenna Kemp and Saydie Holland, who highlighted one of the best Ole Miss teams in program history last season.
After being drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in last year’s NWSL Draft, Foster opted to return to Oxford for one final season with her Rebel teammates. One of the most decorated players in Ole Miss history, the Murray, Kentucky, native finally added the All-American distinction to her name, garnering third team honors.
A four-time All-SEC midfielder and the conference’s active leader with 35 career goals scored, Foster is a dangerous scoring threat on the pitch. During the 2020 campaign, she found the back of the net five times, moving her into sixth in the Ole Miss record books in career goals.
Martin, who has started 43 consecutive matches, also returns for the Rebels. A season ago, she scored twice while dishing out three assists. Standing at 5-10, Martin is a dynamic threat in the air and a key weapon on set pieces.
With her veteran experience at the midfield position, Ole Miss is well positioned to take control in 2021.
Stackpole is coming off one of the best seasons of her career. The Bowling Green, Kentucky, native capped off her 2020 campaign with United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-Southeast Region honors and ranked third in the SEC and 13th in the nation with eight assists. Heading into her senior season, Stackpole has started all 60 matches since stepping foot on campus and has only missed three minutes of action in the last two seasons.
Both Kemp and Holland appeared in all 18 matches last season and worked their way into the starting XI during the spring portion of the 2020 campaign.
Kemp made 11 starts, including the final nine matches of the season and logged over 1,600 minutes on the pitch. She bagged her first career goal last March against Georgia and followed it up with another against Georgia Southern the following match. Holland started nine matches and picked up two key goals last season, scoring the game-winner against LSU and the exclamation point in the derby victory over Memphis.
Also hoping to see playing time is Shea O’Malley, an early enrollee, who has already had a taste of the future, being on the bench with the Rebels during their thrilling Sweet 16 run in the spring. The Cary, North Carolina, native was ranked as the No. 25 recruit in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer and has international experience with the United States U17 Women’s National Team. Excited to suit up for the first time, O’Malley is one of many bright spots in the Rebels’ future. She is joined by fellow freshmen Ellie McIntyre and Lauren Montgomery, who are part of an exciting recruiting class brought in by head coach Matt Mott.
McIntyre was a three-time letterwinner and team captain at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Georgia. In her high school career, McIntyre tallied seven goals and four assists. Montgomery, who hails from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, closes out the talented group. The freshman helped lead First Flight High School to the NCHSAA State Championship in 2018 and picked up a pair of All-State honors in her career.
Fans will have their first chance to catch the dynamic midfielders on the pitch Thursday, August 19, when Ole Miss takes on ETSU at 6 p.m. CT in Oxford.
The Rebels season opener will also be broadcast on SEC Network+.
Keep up with all the latest news and information on the Rebels by following Ole Miss Soccer on Twitter at @OleMissSoccer, on Facebook at Facebook.com/OleMissSoccer, and on Instagram at Instagram.com/officialolemisssoccer. Also, follow head coach Matt Mott on Twitter at @CoachMattMott.
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