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Meridian native is pleasant surprise

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Sept. 18, 2003
OXFORD For Meridian native Ramey Rush, college soccer has been a series of growing expectations.
Nobody except for the head coach.
He was right. Rush went from midfielder to defensive back, and quickly became one of the staples of the Ole Miss defense. In both of Rush's first two seasons, the Rebels set school records for shutouts and least points allowed.
Her success has been as much a surprise to her as anyone else. Rush admits she had reservations about joining the Rebels soccer team when she got to Ole Miss.
As it turned out, she did not have to walk on and was awarded a partial scholarship her freshman year. She also did not have to walk off, as she started every game her freshman year.
Even Holeman admits he has been pleasantly surprised by Rush's performance at defensive back.
Rush also started each game in 2002, making her one of only three players at Ole Miss to start every game for the past two years.
Last season, Rush helped Ole Miss to its best season in school history. The team's 13-5-2 record in 2002 was its highest single-season winning percentage (.700), and the team earned its first NCAA tournament appearance.
Rush called the Rebels' tournament bid its biggest accomplishment to date.
Now, Rush said the Rebels are looking to repeat that performance. Ole Miss has matched its longest season-opening winning streak with its 6-0 start, including a 2-1 overtime win over then-ranked No. 25 Missouri on Sunday.
The Rebels are now ranked No. 21 in the country their highest ranking ever.
Rush and the Ole Miss defense have been a major part of the team's success, as Ole Miss has outscored its opponents 25-2 this season.
The biggest change from years past, according to Rush, is the pressure that comes with success.
Now, one of the teams the Rebels are supposed to beat is Florida State the team that ousted Ole Miss in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament. The Rebels will face the Seminoles in Tallahassee, Fla., in the Nike Seminole Classic this weekend.
Holeman said expectations aren't the only thing that has grown.
Rush said the team is playing as well as it ever has during her career, but that does not satisfy her.