Sept. 21, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Coach Mohammed El-Zare and the Southern Miss women's soccer team know what to expect on Sunday ... the toughest non-conference match of the year.
The Golden Eagles (6-1-2) are bound for Auburn (3-2-1) and a showdown with one of the SEC's most successful programs.
"Auburn is definitely a strong opponent," El-Zare said. "They've been consistently on top of the SEC. The last two years they've either won or played for a conference championship. They've made the NCAA tournament. You're talking about a traditional Top 25, Top 30 team."
In 2011, Auburn was crowned SEC champion and notched a first-round NCAA tournament win over Utah State before being defeated by Maryland in the second round.
In 2012, the Tigers lost in the SEC championship game but again earned a berth in the NCAA tournament and defeated Washington in the first round before being eliminated by BYU.
Auburn has been solid through the early portion of 2013 and has registered wins over Troy, Mercer and College of Charleston with a tie against Clemson.
The Tigers' two losses were to No.3 Florida State, a 2012 national semifinalist, and Samford, a 6-2 team with wins over Tennessee, UTSA and Vanderbilt.
"We know that when we face a team like this we will have to play our best game," El-Zare said. "Auburn will challenge us, there is no doubt, but we believe this challenge will help us in the long run."
It will be a battle of strength versus strength when the high-octane Golden Eagles clash with a stingy Auburn defense.
While Southern Miss has scored 37 goals on the year, Auburn has allowed just 54 shots, 23 of which were on goal, to opposing players with just five goals allowed.
Auburn, which has nine total goals, has three players - Casie Ramsier, Tori Ball and Chelsea Gandy-Cromer - with two goals apiece. Ramsier and Ball have two assists apiece.
|Follow Southern Miss Women's Soccer:||Follow @SouthernMissSoc|