No. 19 Auburn battles No. 13 Ole Miss to 2-2 draw

OXFORD, Miss. – No. 19 Auburn took on its second straight top-15 foe and battled No. 13 Ole Miss to a 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Tigers (11-4-1, 5-3-1 SEC) scored its two goals in a span of less than 10 minutes going into and coming out of halftime, but the team was ultimately unable to hold its lead as Ole Miss (11-3-3, 6-2-1 SEC) tied the game with less than 10 minutes in regulation.

“That was a really hard-fought, well-earned point on the road against a tough Ole Miss team,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “We scored two great goals but unfortunately could not hold them off to get the win.”

Anna Haddock and Sydney Richards accounted for Auburn’s scoring in the contest, marking their ninth and sixth goals of the season, respectively, and their fourth goals in league play. Olivia Candelino also got on the scoresheet with her sixth assist of the year.

Auburn put its first eight shots of the contest on goal and eventually matched Ole Miss with 15 shots in the game, including nine on frame.

The Tigers had dangerous chances in the early going on a pair of crosses from Richards, one to Haddock in the fourth minute and another to Marissa Arias in the 10th, but Ole Miss was the team to start the scoring in the contest on a left-footed strike in the 34th minute.

However, Auburn wasted no time with its response and tied the score on Haddock’s equalizer less than four minutes later. The sophomore beat her defender to the right in the midfield to create space and struck with the right foot, lacing it into the back of the net despite the Ole Miss goalkeeper Ashley Orkus getting a hand on it.  

Prior to the halftime whistle, Haddock nearly gave the Tigers the lead heading into the intermission as she controlled a free kick and struck it with the left foot off the bounce, but Orkus scooped it up in the final seconds of the opening stanza.

The Tigers kept the momentum coming out of halftime and needed just under two minutes to take the lead. Candelino served a ball far post from the right side of the field, and Richards was on the receiving end as she finished the header inside the far post despite the tough angle. The goal was Richards’ fourth in the last seven contests.

Auburn threatened to extend the lead with back-to-back shots on goal in the 56th minute, but Orkus smothered both attempts.

Ole Miss won a corner kick in the 67th minute and put a header on frame, but Maddie Prohaska was there to save it and preserve the lead. However, the Rebels eventually found the equalizer in the 81st minute, and the game went to overtime.

The Tigers maintained possession in the early stages of overtime, but neither team was able to create any shots in the first of two extra periods.

Mallory Mooney looked to end the contest with a pair of chances in the opening minutes of the final stanza, but one effort sailed high and the other was blocked.

Prohaska ended up making three big saves in the last five minute of the game at keep the score tied on the way to the draw. The sophomore goalkeeper tallied five saves in the match, all coming after halftime.

Seventeen players saw action in the contest for Auburn, including three who played all 110 minutes and three more who played 100 or more.

Auburn wraps up the regular season with the Iron Bowl of Soccer at Alabama (9-8-1, 4-4-1 SEC) Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. CT.

“It’s always exciting to close out the regular season with your biggest rival,” Hoppa added. “It’s a tough place to play, but we are excited for the challenge.”

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