McCalla Helping Rebels To National Ranking, Best Start

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Mandy McCalla and the Rebels host Arkansas and No. 10 Texas A&M this weekend.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Mandy McCalla and the Rebels host Arkansas and No. 10 Texas A&M this weekend.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 14, 2012

OXFORD, Miss. – We all have an infatuation as a child whether it be that food we have to eat at every meal, the favorite toy we carry with us everywhere or a flavor of ice cream we have to eat and no other will do.

For many of us, it’s an affection that may last a year or two until that toy is lost or left in the yard as a new toy gains our attention, that favorite book we must have read to us at bedtime is put on a shelf or we finally decide that another flavor of ice cream might actually be ok.

But for some, that affection is one that can’t ever be shaken and no matter where else we may look or how we may try, we always keep coming back.

For Mandy McCalla, a junior on the Ole Miss soccer team, that infatuation that grew into a lifetime love began with a wall in the back yard where she would go every day and kick a soccer ball starting as young as four or five years old.

“All I did was soccer,” McCalla said with a laugh. “We had this huge yard and my sister and I would go out and kick a soccer ball against this brick wall every day. We would just blast the ball against that wall for hours and hours. I didn’t want to stop.”

That love continued to develop over time and no matter what other sports McCalla might pursue, she couldn’t quite shake it. The Georgia native tried her hand at other sports, to be sure, giving it a go on the softball diamond and on other fields of play. But try as she might, the call of the soccer pitch was too strong.

“Softball was ok, but it was so slow paced and there wasn’t enough running for me,” McCalla said with a laugh. “The mental aspect of soccer and the fact that you’re always thinking and evaluating where the next pass is, where the ball is, where your mark is and all the thinking – it’s just so much going on while you’re on the field.”

And so, it was there she found herself spending most of her days growing up. And she’s continued pursuing that love for the last 16 years.

McCalla spent summers playing club soccer with hometown friend and current teammate Erin Emerson and developing the skills that would lead to her catching the eye of college coaches around the country, but particularly in the southeast – and the Southeastern Conference.

The child of Auburn graduates and growing up in the heart of Bulldog country in Georgia, McCalla was no stranger to the rivalries and die hard love for sports in the SEC. It was something that was very familiar to her and peaked her interest when trying to decide where to go to school and play soccer.

There was only one thing that was a given – she would continue to play soccer collegiately with Emerson.

The two talked about their choices constantly, weighing their options between Ole Miss, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina. After a visit to Oxford, the decision was an easy one for McCalla.

“I just loved the campus, and still do – it’s beautiful,” McCalla said. “I loved the team and the chemistry and camaraderie. I haven’t been to a college town more beautiful than Oxford. The sense of pride in Ole Miss and Oxford stood out so much when I visited. I wanted to be a part of it.”

She arrived in Oxford for the 2010 season and immediately made an impact on the squad and in the SEC, earning a spot on the All-Freshman team when the league’s coaches made their selections for post-season honors.

McCalla followed that up with a solid sophomore season a year ago, finishing the season second on the team with five goals and third in points with 14. She hit the game-winning goal against Mississippi State to end the season and has used that performance – one she calls her best memory as a Rebel – to build on for this season.

That foundation has been a solid one so far this year as McCalla has helped the Rebels post a 6-0 start to the year through the first three weeks of play. The junior leads the squad in goals with seven and hit the game-winning goal against Saint Louis in the season opener and again against Texas Tech.

She has goals for the squad she’d like to achieve but she won’t talk about them too much beyond winning a championship for Ole Miss and making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament before she finishes her eligibility.

But ask her about her teammates and the face brightens up and she’s not so tight-lipped. She immediately launches into a speech about how lucky she is to have them, whether it is the talented upperclassmen she’s played with for two years, or the 11 freshmen on the squad.

“They are a driven bunch and each of them has something to add to the team,” McCalla said. “They are physical in the back line and we have speed and precision at the midfield and the front. They are so tactical and technical. You wouldn’t know they are freshmen they have been so dominant. They were ready to play when they came in.

“I just hope we’re setting the example for them as upperclassmen, that’s what we have to do and I hope we’re doing a good job of that,” McCalla said.

The Rebels kick off Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a pair of home matches against Arkansas and conference newcomer Texas A&M.

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Sunday, April 17, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Saturday, April 16, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • From the Tee Box at the 2016 SEC Championships

      Friday, April 15, 2016 - Athletics

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As the Ole Miss women's golf... read more

    • Ole Miss School Of Pharmacy Names Todd Sandroni Distinguished Alum

      Saturday, April 9, 2016 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThis weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field... read more

    • The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

      Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on... read more

    • Break Out the Powder Blue

      Monday, February 29, 2016 - Baseball

      By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsYou've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past... read more

    • Watch Six Rebels at NFL Combine on NFL Network

      Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Football

      Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.The Path to the Draft... read more

    • Welcome Back to Baseball

      Monday, February 22, 2016 - Baseball

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole... read more

    • Ole Miss Baseball 2016 Walk Out Music

      Friday, February 19, 2016 - Baseball

      With the 2016 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning today at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. FIU), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite?#1 DJ Miller: "Go DJ" by Lil Wayne#2 Ryan Olenek:... read more

    • Ole Miss to Appear at SEC Football Media Days on July 14

      Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - Football

      The Southeastern Conference today announced Kickoff '16, its annual football media days, will be held July 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and selected players (TBA) will visit... read more

    • Rebels Rule NCAA Stats, SEC History

      Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - Football

      Last week, I wrote this story about the 64 school records and numerous program firsts that Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss football team accomplished in 2015.Today let's take a closer look at where the Rebels' season stacked up in the national... read more

    • What They're Saying in 2015

      Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football is one of five programs in the nation to make back-to-back New Year's Six bowl games and will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 2016) for the first time since 1970. The Rebels are the... read more

    • Ole Miss Football: 2015 Offensive Juggernaut

      Thursday, December 3, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Rebel Offense Shatters School Records... read more

    • Seniors Shine, Records Broken in Magnolia Bowl

      Saturday, November 21, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsAfter a bounce that didn't go their way against Arkansas, the Rebels knew tonight was a must-win situation. No. 22 Ole Miss knocked off rival No. 15 LSU 38-17 in a top-25 matchup... read more

    • Drama Rules The Day at Vaught-Hemingway

      Saturday, November 7, 2015 - Football

      By Brandon Lee, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsDrama in front of a sold-out crowd of 60,680 between the No. 18 Rebels and Arkansas? It was that and a whole lot more in a back-and-forth Saturday night knockdown, drag-out SEC West... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook

» «