Ole Miss Opens 2012 Season Against Saint Louis Friday

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Mandy McCalla and the Rebels host Saint Louis at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
Mandy McCalla and the Rebels host Saint Louis at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

Aug. 16, 2012

OXFORD, Miss – The Ole Miss soccer team opens the 2012 season on Friday night, hosting the Saint Louis Billikens at 7 p.m. at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork will be on hand to conduct the coin toss prior to the game to officially kick-off the start of the 2012-13 athletic season.

The first 100 fans to visit the Ole Miss Soccer page on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OleMissSoccer and print out the coupon and bring it to the game will receive two free tickets to the first football game of the season. The K-9 Air Mutts will also be performing at halftime of the soccer game.

The Rebels will then continue competition on Sunday, taking to the road to face Middle Tennessee State at 6 p.m. to close out the first weekend of play.

“We’re excited to get out there and put the jerseys on and play against someone other than ourselves,” said Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott. “Without an exhibition game, I think there is a heightened excitement as coaches and player. They’re ready to play someone else.

“Saint Louis is a great test for us,” Mott said. “They have a new coach who is a good friend of mine and an excellent coach. They return a lot of starters from last year and they will be ready and well prepared.”

The two teams are no stranger to each other, having faced-off in competition in the spring season. The Rebels claimed that meeting 2-0 behind goals from Rafaelle Souza and Mandy McCalla. Ole Miss will be counting on the duo along with senior Alix Hildal and junior Erin Emerson when the Rebels take the field against the Billikens on Friday night.

Hildal and Souza were both tabbed as preseason All-SEC selections by CollegeSportsMadness.com earlier in the week. Souza led the Rebels in goals (nine), assists (seven) and points (25) last year, while Hildal earned All-SEC honors for the second straight season after she scored four goals and tallied 11 points. She was also named an All-South Region selection.

McCalla tallied five goals and four assists a year ago, while Emerson added two goals and four assists. Combined, the four provided 20 of the squads 37 goals and 18 of the team’s 26 assists.

The Rebels will also be counting on several newcomers throughout the course of the season, especially along the midfield and at defender. A trio of freshmen looks to have an impact at defender with Maddie Friedmann, Jessica Hiskey and Sam Sanders all coming on strong in the preseason.

The midfield sees four freshmen looking to contribute this year with Bethany Bunker, Sara Coleman, Olivia Harrison and Jennifer Miller all expected to have an impact. Harrison was named NSCAA All-American last season out of Houston High in Collierville, Tenn.

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