Lees-McRae College women's soccer head coach Cally Morrill was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year, and forward Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) earned the league's Freshman of the Year honors as the Bobcats placed a program-record seven players on the
players on the teams, respectively.
all-Conference Carolinas team.
Lees-McRae paced the conference with its seven selections, while Belmont Abbey College and Limestone College placed six and five
Sophomore MaryBeth Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.), and seniors Brooke Santerre (Port Republic, Md.) and Mary Dorn (Shallotte, N.C.) garnered all-Conference Carolinas first team honors, as Thornton, senior Vickie Rich (Arlington Heights, Ill.), and freshman goalkeeper Kaityln Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) earned second team recognition. Junior Emily Jones (Leonardtown, Md.) also garnered third team recognition.
Morrill has taken the Bobcats to new heights this fall, leading Lees-McRae to its first Conference Carolinas regular season championship since 2000. The Bobcats posted an 11-1 record against league opponents in Morrill's second year at the helm, earning the program's first-ever top seed in the conference tournament.
Thornton burst onto the conference and national scene this season, leading all Conference Carolinas freshmen with 12 goals, six assists, and 30 points. A native of Millville, N.J., Thornton has also tallied a pair of match-winners this season, while scoring two or more goals
on a trio of occasions. Thornton was also named to the second team in addition to garnering freshman of the year honors. Sullivan earned a spot on the all-conference first team for the second time in her career, posting her second straight 10-goal season with exactly 10 tallies this fall. The Greensboro, N.C. native has also posted four match-winners this season, while tallying back-to-back braces against St. Andrews and King.
Santerre is in the midst of another strong season with the Bobcats, tallying eight goals, four assists, and 20 points to earn her second straight all-conference first team honors. The Port Republic, Md. native has tied a career-high with her eight goals this season,
tallying her fifth career match-winner against Queens on Oct. 8. Dorn has been a tremendous part of the Bobcats' success this season, helping the backline record 11 clean sheets en route to her third straight all-conference selection. The Shallotte, N.C. native has
posted career highs with three goals and seven points this season, including a personal-best performance against Coker with a goal and an assist.
Rich has enjoyed one of the finest individual careers in the program's history, entering Thursday's semifinal round of the conference tournament ranked second in school history in match-winners (17), tied for sixth in goals (38), seventh in assists (27), and eighth in points (103). A native of Arlington Heights, Ill., Rich garners her third career all-conference honors and her second straight second-team selection, having posted a personal-best nine assists this season. Briggs has posted one of the best individual seasons in program history at the goalkeeper position, earning a second-team selection with a 12-3-1 record to go along with eight clean sheets and a 0.72 goals against average, which currently ranks fourth among the school's single-season records. A native of Oviedo, Fla., Briggs has allowed more than one goal on just five occasions this season, while recording
six clean sheets in conference play. Jones garners her first career all-conference recognition with a third-team selection, providing a calming presence as a possession
midfielder for the Bobcats throughout her career. The Leonardtown, Md.
native equaled a career-high with four assists this season, while tallying her second career match-winner in LMC's 2-1 win over Erskine in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament on Monday.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Thursday when the Bobcats host third-seeded Limestone in the semifinal round of the conference tournament at 7 p.m. on Tate Field. The Saints won the teams' regular season matchup on Oct. 25 in Gaffney, S.C. by a score of 2-0.
Five Bobcats Named All-Conference
Senior Luke Duffy (Wakefield, England) was named to the all-Conference Carolinas first team for the third consecutive season Thursday, leading a group of five players from the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team on the all-conference teams.
Duffy and sophomore James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) were both named to the first team, while senior Luke Staats (Almere, Netherlands) and freshman James Smith (Eastbourne, England) each earned a spot on the second team. Sophomore goalkeeper Thomas Rusling
(Sheffield, England) also garnered all-conference recognition for the first time in his career, earning a place on the third team.
A native of Wakefield, England, Duffy becomes just the second player in program history to earn all-Conference Carolinas honors in each of his four seasons as a Bobcat. The senior defender led the Bobcats to 9-2 record in conference play this season, as LMC captured the Western Division crown and the second overall seed in the league tournament.
Duffy also helped the Bobcat backline keep four clean sheets against league opponents, while notching his first career match-winner in extra time against St. Andrews. Galvani garners all-conference first team honors for the first time in his career, leading the Bobcat attack with 10 goals, 23 points, and three match-winners this season. A native of High Wycombe, England, Galvani notched at least two goals on three occasions this fall,
including a torrid five-match stretch in which he found the back of
the net nine times. Staats caps a tremendous four-year career in the Green and Gold with
his second straight all-conference selection, helping the Bobcat backline keep five clean sheets this season while posting four assists. The Almere, Netherlands native has developed a habit of coming through in the clutch throughout his career, with three of his
four assists this season being credited on match-winning goals for the
Smith has enjoyed a strong first year with the Bobcats, concluding the regular season ranked first on the team and tied for second in the conference with six assists in league play. A native of Eastbourne, England, Smith has also tallying a trio of goals this season,
including one match-winner, to enter Friday's conference tournament semifinal ranked second on the team with 13 points.
Rusling put together a solid sophomore campaign with the Bobcats this fall, posting a 7-2 record in conference play to go along with four clean sheets and a 1.26 goals against average. The Sheffield, England native has allowed one goal or less in 11 matches this season, including five clean sheets and a pair of victories over nationally-ranked teams Flagler College and Coker College. Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Friday when the second-seeded Bobcats host sixth-seeded Erskine College in the semifinal round at 7
p.m. on Tate Field. The Flying Fleet won the regular season matchup between the sides by a 3-1 score line in Banner Elk on Oct. 19.
Petersen Named New Tennis Coach At Lees-McRae
Aaron Petersen has been named the new head men's and women's tennis coach at Lees-McRae College, announced Director of Athletics Craig McPhail on Thursday.
"Aaron is a man of strong character and in talking with him, I felt our young men and women tennis players would be in great hands with his experience both as a businessman, but also as a tennis pro," said McPhail. "I am looking forward to working with him and having him as a part of the Bobcat family."
Petersen has served as the Director of Tennis at Deer Valley Racquet Club since 2009, organizing events and overseeing the club's tennis program while filling an instrumental role developing sales strategies and managing the pro shop. Prior to his post at Deer Valley, Petersen served as an assistant tennis professional at Forsyth Country Club, providing instruction for lessons and clinics.
A 1993 graduate of Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., Petersen spent 12 years at B.O.C. Packaging, Inc. in various roles, serving as Vice President from 2006 to 2008. Petersen joined B.O.C. in 1996 as an account manager, filling that role before serving as a sales and operations manager from 1997 to 2001. He then served as Executive Vice President and Owner of the company from 2001 to 2006, before being promoted to Vice President.
Petersen graduated from Queens in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in psychology after a successful playing career on the men's tennis team. He served as team captain during his junior and senior seasons, playing No. 1 singles and doubles in each of his four years at Queens. Petersen was ranked as high as 34th in the nation's individual rankings, receiving team MVP and Coaches' Award honors during his career.
Lees-McRae College, a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, USA, is located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina. Being a year-round tourist destination, the area provides the best of a vibrant college community coupled with natural beauty and a rich history. Please see www.lmc.edu for more information.