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McCalla leads by example

The Ole Miss soccer team is off to one of the best starts in school history with a 9-2 record on the year and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play. A cast of freshmen has been a huge help for Ole Miss, but a breakout year from junior forward/midfielder Mandy McCalla has sparked the Rebel offense.
Tyler Jackson/The Daily Mississippian

 
McCalla is having a career season offensively. She has scored a Southeastern Conference-leading 10 goals through 11 games this season. Her goal total for this year has already doubled her total from the 2011 season, when she only netted five goals. McCalla leads the SEC not only in goals, but also in points (23), points per game (2.09) and game-winning goals (4). There are nine more conference games left for her to improve on all these statistical marks.
 
With all her accomplishments this season, McCalla has used it not to pat herself on the back, but to recognize the people around her on the field.
 
“I’ve been center forward full time this year, which has definitely helped being up top,” McCalla said. “I think the chemistry and the speed we got wide and chemistry up top has really helped contribute to that. They’re the ones setting it up. I’m just the one putting it in.”
 
With such a young squad, including 11 freshmen, the players look up to her as a leader. She uses that to keep her focus to make sure the freshmen are where they are supposed to be. McCalla also knows the girls do not need much help either.
 
“I’d definitely say that is one of the goals this season,” McCalla said. “Like I’ve been saying all season, they’ve kind of done it themselves. They came in ready, and they know their jobs and they know what they are supposed to do so that always helps.”
 
With her excellent performance this season, McCalla, along with junior forward Rafaelle Souza and senior midfielder Alix Hildal, has become a field general for the Rebels, which is something she said she expected heading into the season.
 
“We were going to be such a young team, we knew we had to step up as the upperclassmen,” McCalla said.
 
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss soccer, follow @thedm_sports and @WildRebel27 on Twitter.