Rebel Soccer Looks To Build On Successful 2012 Mott's Rebels Make Big Strides In 2012 Campaign
The Rebels returned to the SEC Tournament for the 14th time in program history in 2012.
Dec. 12, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. – When the Ole Miss soccer team took the field in the preseason to prepare for the 2012 campaign it was with optimism and an air of excitement for year three of the Matt Mott era as the Rebels returned one of the most explosive scoring threats in the Southeastern Conference and welcomed a group of 12 newcomers to the squad.
A slogan of “Breathe Later” was always in the thoughts of a young team that focused on the goals in front of them; and all other things – including taking that next breath – could be considered later.
With the 2012 campaign in the books, the squad can take that next breath and know that it was a season with goals achieved but a hunger for continued growth remains.
“We came out of the gates with a great start and preseason and set the tone for the season,” Mott said. “We had great team chemistry and that set the table for a quick start. A big win in front of a great crowd in the first match propelled us into the non-conference slate and we got off to a great start. The team really bought into our goals and what it means to be an Ole Miss soccer player. We’ve set a great foundation for the future.”
The Rebels opened the season with a 3-1 victory over Saint Louis in front of a crowd of more than 1,300 fans to kick off the best start to a season in Ole Miss history. The squad rattled off eight consecutive wins, including four straight shutout victories, to best the previous mark of seven straight wins to open a season set in 2003.
In that eight win stretch to open the season, the Rebels got a glimpse of what the season would hold as juniors Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza exploded offensively. The pair would finish the year atop the SEC statistically, leading the league in goals and points with each player notching 13 goals and 33 points on the season to pace one of the top athletic conferences in the nation.
McCalla and Souza would go on to be named All-SEC selections by the league’s coaches, while Souza would also claim All-Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. McCalla was tabbed a third team All-America selection by CollegeSportsMadness.com and both were named to the online publication’s All-SEC team. McCalla was also named the publication’s Offensive Player of the Year in the SEC.
Souza was named the SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year with a 3.72 GPA in Engineering and garnered Capital One Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
It wasn’t all McCalla and Souza this season, however, as the Rebels put 10 freshmen on the field and welcomed 12 newcomers to the program prior to the start of the season.
“I was really happy with our freshman group as a whole and the way these guys came together and a lot of them played a lot of minutes; especially with the play of the back line where we had three freshmen play almost every minute of the season with Maddie Friedmann, Samantha Sanders and Jessica Hiskey,” Mott said. “Jennifer Miller had a great start up in the middle before an injury. Sara Coleman, Bethany Bunker, Sydney Eddy and Olivia Harrison were great up front with Rafa (Souza) and Mandy (McCalla).
“Brooke Theobald helped us in the middle and front line, combining with our two veterans in Alix Hildal and Erin Emerson as those two really helped solidify our midfield as holding mids.”
The immediate impact of the freshmen combined with the experienced veterans was evident as the Rebels put a balanced attack on the field. Thirteen different players scored in 2012 while 11 different players notched assists on those goals to help the Rebels finish third in the SEC in goals scored.
Harrison led the way among freshmen with six goals, while Coleman turned in three goals. Both notched game-winners; with Harrison’s coming on the road at Troy and Coleman’s coming at home against Kentucky. Both were shutout victories for the Rebels.
All told, five freshmen notched game-winners on the season. Miller put the ball in the net to push the Rebels past Middle Tennesse, while Hiskey and Sanders helped Ole Miss to a weekend sweep with game-winners at Vanderbilt and South Carolina, respectively.
A big part of the offense having the opportunity for those game-winning goals came off the play of the back line, and notably the performance of sophomore goalkeeper Kelly McCormick.
“Our goalkeeping play was excellent with Kelly having another year under her belt,” Mott said. “She took a leap forward, very much like the team did, from her freshman year to her sophomore year and established herself as one of the better goalkeepers in the SEC and as someone we can count on. She will make the saves to keep us in games and pull out games.
“She almost single-handedly beat Alabama with some amazing saves. I think we can look back on that game and say that was a bit of a turning point in our season for us in conference play.”
McCormick helped the Rebels post eight shutout victories on the season, including a stretch of four consecutive shutout wins in the eight-game win streak to open the year. The sophomore set the school record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal in that stretch, holding opponents off the board for 488 minutes straight.
She also picked up three shutout wins in SEC play (at Alabama, at Vanderbilt and at home against Kentucky) before blanking LSU in the SEC Tournament to send the Rebels into the quarterfinals against the top-seeded Florida Gators.
She was twice named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts in goal.
All of that bodes well for the future and brings a greater sense of excitement and expectation to the coaching staff and players when looking toward the 2013 season. Mott is quick to point out the return of several players who have seen significant minutes for the Rebels like Maddie Cunningham and Emily Reid who will comprise an outstanding senior class along with Emerson, McCalla and Souza.
“You win at a high level with seniors, so we will rely heavily on these five guys who have played a lot of significant minutes for us in their career,” Mott said. “But we also have a sophomore class now that has logged lots of minutes and really grown up. We have what I believe to be a really good freshman class coming in and return Kelly (McCormick) as our starting goalkeeper; and that’s exciting.
“The NCAA Tournament is the goal we have to shoot for and is the level our team is at,” Mott said. “Once you get into the tournament it becomes one game at a time and you see what you can do. We’re looking forward to a good spring season to get everyone better and prepare us for an exciting fall in 2013.”
THE SEASON: Ole Miss Basketball (2014) - Episode 7 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, here are each of the first six episodes of The Season: Ole Miss Basketball:Episode 1 (Season overview, Auburn, Mississippi State games)Episode... read more
In less than a full indoor season with the Ole Miss track & field team, Australian distance runner Daniel Bulmer has had a significant impact on the school record books and set the stage for a lot more to come... read more
What a Win tonight... Very Proud of our team #ProudCoach #Passion #Process #1MISSion-- Matt Insell (@minsell) March 6, 2014 What a great win for our program tonight! This team has come so far! Watch us take on Auburn tomorrow night... read more
Proceeding from 1995 to 1996, we will highlight moment No. 23 in head coach Billy Chadwick's career. This particular moment will accentuate a tremendous individual accomplishment. In 1996, Sweden's Johan Hede became the first Rebel in Ole Miss tennis history... read more
The Ole Miss women's basketball team looks to carry the momentum from a 73-71 overtime win over Auburn on Senior Day this past Sunday into this week's Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The Rebels are... read more
Ole Miss and Arkansas are both looking to improve their Southeastern Conference standing and possibly play their way into a top-four seed and a double bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament next week in Atlanta. The Rebels are... read more
Senior Bo Wallace returns at quarterback and will go through spring drills for the first time since 2012, having missed spring practice last year recovering from offseason shoulder surgery."I feel like strength-wise, I'm a lot better than I was at... read more
Audio of Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell's time on the SEC teleconference Monday as well as audio of Arkansas head coach Tom Collen and Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. Ole Miss is the No. 14 seed in this week's... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 24-March 2, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss posted four straight walk-off wins this past week on the way to two wins over ULM and a sweep of UCF.- Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis has not allowed... read more
To begin this week, we are ending 1995 for moment No. 24. This moment is another first for the Ole Miss tennis program and is the product of a true collective effort by Coach Chadwick and the Rebels.By now, you... read more
Photo GalleryA total of 25 scouts representing 22 NFL teams were on hand at Ole Miss' annual Pro Day Monday, including former Rebel Von Hutchins, now with the Oakland Raiders organization. Donte Moncrief, who participated in the 2014 NFL Combine,... read more
Highlights of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. The Rebels close out the regular season... read more