The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team, fresh off its fourth consecutive Conference Carolinas championship, is picked second in the 2011 Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced league officials Thursday.
The Bobcats enter a new era this season, as former three-time All-American Lee Squires takes the helm after leading the program to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances as a player. Lees-McRae returns seven letter-winners from last year's squad, including seniors Luke Duffy (Wakefield, England), David Palmer (South Shields, England), Luke Staats (Almere, Netherlands), and Tyler Gibson (Gastonia, N.C.).
"Obviously it is nice to be recognized by the other teams in our conference and it shows the success we have had in recent times," said Squires. "However, each team improves year after year and it is such a competitive conference so it will be difficult, but our aim is always to be at the top at the end of the season."
The Bobcats posted a 13-5-3 record last season, including a 7-1-1 mark against league opponents en route to capturing the program's fourth consecutive conference crown. Lees-McRae is certain to feature several new faces on the pitch, welcoming 15 newcomers into the fold while returning seven players from last year's squad, including all-Conference Carolinas Second team selection James Galvani (High Wycombe, England).
Lees-McRae opens the 2011 season on Thursday, September 1, kicking off the Michael Shope Memorial Tournament against No. 19 University of Montevallo at 6 p.m. on Tate Field.
Lees-McRae College M. Soccer Schedule
Aug. 17, 2011 Green vs. White game Banner Elk, N.C. 7 p.m.
Aug. 20, 2011 at Radford University (Exhibition) Radford, Va. 4 p.m.
Aug. 27, 2011 at Catawba College (Exhibition) Salisbury, N.C. 7 p.m.
Sep. 1, 2011 University of Montevallo Banner Elk, N.C. Stats 6 p.m.
Sep. 2, 2011 Flagler College vs. King College (Tenn.) Banner Elk, N.C. Stats 4 p.m.
Sep. 3, 2011 Milligan College vs. University of Montevallo Banner Elk, N.C. Stats 1 p.m.
Sep. 3, 2011 Flagler College Banner Elk, N.C. Stats 3 p.m.
Sep. 7, 2011 at Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory, N.C. 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 10, 2011 St. Andrews Presbyterian College* Banner Elk, N.C. 3:30 p.m.
Sep. 14, 2011 at King College* Bristol, Tenn. 5 p.m.
Sep. 17, 2011 North Greenville University* Banner Elk, N.C. 6 p.m.
Sep. 20, 2011 at Tusculum College Greeneville, Tenn. 7 p.m.
Sep. 24, 2011 at Pfeiffer University* Misenheimer, N.C. 4 p.m.
Sep. 28, 2011 at Anderson University Anderson, S.C. 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 1, 2011 Barton College (Homecoming)* Banner Elk, N.C. 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 4, 2011 at Carson-Newman College Jefferson City, Tenn. 7 p.m.
Oct. 8, 2011 Queens University of Charlotte* Banner Elk, N.C. 7 p.m.
Oct. 12, 2011 Belmont Abbey College* Banner Elk, N.C. 7 p.m.
Oct. 15, 2011 at Mount Olive College* Mount Olive, N.C. 4 p.m.
Oct. 19, 2011 Erskine College* Banner Elk, N.C. 7 p.m.
Oct. 22, 2011 at Coker College* Hartsville, S.C. 7 p.m.
Oct. 25, 2011 at Limestone College* Gaffney, S.C. 3 p.m.
Oct. 29, 2011 at Milligan College Milligan College, Tenn. 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 1, 2011 Conference Carolinas Tournament - Quarterfinals Campus Site
Nov. 4, 2011 Conference Carolinas Tournament - Semifinals Campus Site
Nov. 6, 2011 Conference Carolinas Tournament - Final Campus Site 1 p.m.
Nov. 9, 2011 NCAA Tournament - Opening Round Campus Site
Nov. 10-11, 2011 NCAA Tournament - First Round Campus Site
Nov. 12-13, 2011 NCAA Tournament - Second Round Campus Site
Nov. 19-20, 2011 NCAA Tournament - Quarterfinals Campus Site
Dec. 1, 2011 NCAA Tournament - Semifinals Pensacola, Fla.
Dec. 3, 2011 NCAA Tournament - Final Pensacola, Fla.
Home events are in bold.
* - indicates Conference Carolinas event
All times are local.