Troy soccer hosts Ole Miss today

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Troy University Soccer team is the first to welcome a Southeastern Conference foe from Mississippi to Troy this fall.

The Trojans host the Ole Miss Rebels on the pitch at the Jesse H. Colley Track/Soccer Complex this afternoon.

The Trojans come in to the matchup 2-0 after wins over Alabama State and Alcorn State over the weekend. Troy came from behind to beat the Hornets from ASU 5-2, and shutout Alcorn 2-0.

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Head coach Chris Bentley said he saw some things in the Alabama State game that will help the team down the line.

“We showed a lot of resilience,” Bentley said. “For us to be down two-nil and come all the way back and score five unanswered goals to win the game shows a lot of character. We are pleased with that.”

Ole Miss comes to Troy undefeated after notching a pair of 3-1 wins over Saint Louis and Sun Belt member Middle Tennessee State.

The Rebels roster yields a lot of talent but one stands above the rest. Rafaelle Souza was selected to try out for Brazil’s national team, her home country, in the spring. Souza turned in one of the most impressive first seasons in Ole Miss History in 2011.

She ended the season with nine goals, seven assists and 25 points, all of which were one shy of the school record. So far in 2012, Souza has accounted for two goals and four points.

Bentley knows of Souza’s accomplishments, but said that playing against tough competition will help the Trojans as the year goes on.

“Going out and competing against players of that level is what Division-One soccer is about,” Bentley said. “It is our job to go out and compete and get a win.”

The Trojans also have a player coming in the matchup with momentum. Cecilia Thorngren was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week for her performance during opening weekend. Thorngren has scored three goals, dished out four assists and collected 10 points through just two games.

Only three Sun Belt Conference teams, Troy, Florida International and North Texas, remain undefeated on the season. Bentley knows that conference play is the most pivotal time of the year, and wants his team to keep improving.

“We look at from the point of we have to get ready for conference play,” said Bentley. “Anytime you can play a team from a ‘big’ conference it helps, but we aren’t really looking at like that. We are looking at it as a way to get ready for Sun Belt play.”

The Troy soccer team has never beaten an SEC opponent, and hasn’t started a season 3-0 since 2009.

The soccer matchup is the first of three visits from an SEC foe to Troy this season. Mississippi State travels to Troy for football and men’s basketball matchups later in the year.

The Rebels and Trojans will kickoff at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Colley Track/Soccer Complex on campus at Troy University. Admission to all home soccer matches is free.

“We have girls that will do thing well in the classroom, on the field and in the community,” said Bentley. “We would love for the people of Troy and to come out and support the girls.”