KENNESAW, Ga. -Mandy McCalla converted her first penalty kick of the season, putting the go-ahead goal in the net in the 68th minute to give Ole Miss (5-1-1) a 2-1 win over Kennesaw State (2-4-0) Friday night.
"We played really well in the first half, but unfortunately didn't get a goal," said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. "We really battled in the second half to go down a goal and then respond with two goals of our own. I'm proud of the character of this team for getting down and then continuing to fight and come back.
"We're ready to get home on Sunday night against Memphis," Mott said. "We're excited to get home after four straight weeks on the road and five of our first seven matches away from home - especially the last four straight."
The Rebels got some great looks early in the match with most of the contest played on the Owls' side of the field through the first 25 minutes. Ole Miss got a handful of shots on goal, but all missed the mark before Kennesaw State would get a pair of shots off that hit the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
Despite the distinct difference in possession time and out-shooting the Owls 6-to-3, the Rebels were unable to convert on the shots or seven corner kicks and at halftime the teams remained scoreless.
The stalemate continued early in the second half until a foul in the box against the Rebels set up a penalty kick for the home-standing Owls in the 57th minute. Suzanna Arafa took the kick for the Owls, hitting it to give Kennesaw State the lead.
It was short-lived, however, as moments later Olivia Harrison dribbled through four defenders into the box and scored with a shot from the near side that evened things at 1-1 in the 58th minute.
The Rebels moved in front 10 minutes later when McCalla converted on a penalty kick to put Ole Miss on top 2-1. The senior captain took a free kick from the far side that almost went in the net. One of the Rebel players making a run was pushed down in the box, however, setting up the penalty kick off the foul that gave Ole Miss the lead.
Souza then appeared to extend the lead for the Rebels with a corner kick in the 86th minute. Souza took the corner on the near side and bent the ball in over the head of the keeper on the far side, seeming to give Ole Miss the 3-1 lead.
The goal was waved off, however, after the officials conferred and left the Rebels with a one-goal lead on the Owls with four minutes to play. It was ruled that following a sub prior to the corner kick, the official had signaled the ball in-play before all the players involved in the substitution had made it off the field.
Ole Miss would hold off Kennesaw State from down the stretch and pick up the 2-1 win.
The Rebels will return to action Sunday night when Ole Miss plays host to Memphis at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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