Kizer ready to be even better for Rebels in 2016
By John Davis, Sports Editor
If CeCe Kizer is even better than what she was in 2015, then the rest of the SEC better look out.
Ole Miss soccer advanced to its first appearance in the “Sweet 16” last season in part to the output of Kizer, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
The Overland Park, Kansas native finished with 14 goals, which ranked third in the SEC, and 18th nationally in total goals. Kizer also had seven game-winning goals, which ranked fourth in the nation, while her 29 total points ranked her in the top five in the SEC.
Kizer, like the rest of her teammates, have been working towards the start of the 2016 season. Summer drills open on Wednesday, and Kizer wants to keep building from the success she had last year.
“I want to do everything I can to help the team and I think team wise, we want to build from last year. We don’t just want to have that one season where we just made it to the Sweet 16 and not do as well,” Kizer said. “I think we’re focused on one game at a time and getting our way back into the NCAA Tournament, and the SEC Tournament as well.”
Offseason workouts have gotten Kizer stronger, and faster. She felt like she would be a completely different player because she has a year under her belt.
“I worked a lot on getting stronger on the ball. Also finding ways to get the ball in the middle and find gaps just because (Ole Miss coach) Matt (Mott) wants me to get even more touches on the ball than I did last year,” said Kizer who played club soccer in Nebraska this June. “Most of July, I’ve been lifting and running and going out and working on my shot. We want to have a great season again. We are so close, and I think we’re going to be just as good this year.”
It was hard for Kizer to really pinpoint the moment when college soccer just clicked. During the preseason, she focused on playing her game. The rest fell into place.
“I knew that I at least wanted to play some and then once we had our first exhibition game, I think during that game, I played really well and that helped boost my confidence going into the rest of the season,” Kizer said. “From there, it just kind of took off.”
Kizer may just be a sophomore, but she is a leader and hoping to assist the talented cast of newcomers like Madison Meador or former Lafayette High standout Alley Houghton. Kizer played against Meador, who is from Ballwin, Missouri, several times in the past.
“She’s good. She’s strong and a really good defender and knows her position really well,” Kizer said. “I’ve heard good things about Alley in that she’s very technical and just does great things and can finish really well. Matt has been telling me to take them under my wing and to help them and reassure them because it is difficult coming into a college team not knowing really what to expect. I’m going to be there and help them through the whole preseason and regular season as well.”
Two matches that Kizer is looking forward to are home against Texas A&M since the Aggies beat the Rebels in the NCAAs. Kizer’s entire family will be there to watch.
“I think it’s going to be a great game,” she said. “And probably Mizzou just because last year we didn’t do as well as we wanted to in losing. That was the school was probably the next on my list to go to. I’m excited to play them again because I definitely think we can beat them.”
Living in Oxford has been a lot of fun for Kizer over the past year. She and other teammates love eating at Ajax “all the time.”
“I love it so much. The people are amazing. It’s so fun to play soccer at such a great school and so amazing to be a part of,” she said.