Sophomore James Smith (Eastbourne, England) recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team to a 2-0 shutout of North Greenville University on Saturday afternoon to open its Conference
Carolinas schedule. Lees-McRae (2-4, 1-0 CC) outshot North Greenville (1-2-1, 0-1 CC) by a 17-11 margin, including a 10-2 advantage in the first half, while edging the Crusaders on corner kicks, 5-2. Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made four saves en route to his 11th career clean sheet, as Smith tallied a goal and assist on six attempts at goal. James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) added a goal of his own, notching his 22nd career strike in the Green and Gold.
Thales Wieczorek paced the Crusaders with two attempts at goal, as Justen Braddock made six saves while playing the full 90 minutes between the pipes.
The match remained scoreless until the early moments of the 33rd minute, when Brandon Starling (Fuquay-Varina, N.C.) kept good pressure on the Crusader defense, forcing a turnover and feeding Galvani via Smith for the finish and a 1-0 lead for the Bobcats.
Lees-McRae would carry the one-goal advantage into the second half, doubling the lead to 2-0 late in the 48th minute when Smith bent a free kick into the back of the net from just outside the area while North Greenville was still organizing its wall. Smith nearly stretched the advantage to 3-0 midway through the 81st minute, winning a penalty kick before being denied on the attempt by a tremendous diving save by the Crusader keeper.
"Today was a good all-around team performance," said Bobcat head coach Lee Squires. "More importantly, we are back to winning ways and made a good start to the conference season. We will look to improve again ahead of North Georgia on Wednesday."
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats host North Georgia College & State University in NCAA Division II Southeast Region play at 3 p.m. on Tate Field.
Arendt, Treble paces Bobcats past Crusaders, 5-1
Sam Arendt (Franklinton, N.C.) tallied her first career hat trick and Ally Titsworth (Holmes Beach, Fla.) added three assists to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 5-1 win over North Greenville University in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday afternoon.
Lees-McRae (3-2-1, 2-0 CC) outshot North Greenville (0-4, 0-1 CC) by a 23-7 margin, including a 12-3 advantage in the first half, as the Bobcats controlled the pace of play for the majority of the match. The Bobcats held a 6-3 edge on attempts from the corner, as six different players wrote their names onto the score sheet.
Arendt stole the show for Lees-McRae, firing three goals for her first collegiate treble in just 34 minutes of action. The sophomore forward scored twice in a two-minute span early in the first half, before capping the day's scoring just over 10 minutes from time. Senior Mary Dorn (Shallotte, N.C.) and freshman Erica Allen (Norton, Ohio) each added a goal for the Bobcats, while Titsworth chipped in three assists.
Kaitlyn Kerrigan (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) and Molly Ames (Greensboro, N.C.) each posted an assist in the match, as Kerrigan moved into a tie for eighth in program history with her 24th career helper. Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) tallied two saves en route to the victory, moving into ninth on the program's all-time list with her 14th career win.
Caroline Baker tallied the lone strike for North Greenville, as Alli Mims added an assist and Taylor Kelley recorded seven saves between the pipes.
The match remained scoreless until the early moments of the 31st minute, when Dorn nodded home a corner by Kerrigan to break the deadlock and give the Bobcats an early 1-0 lead. Allen doubled the advantage to 2-0 midway through the 42nd minute, volleying a cross from Ames into the back of the net for her second goal of the season to send the Bobcats into the interval with a 2-0 advantage.
Arendt tallied the first of her three goals less than a minute into the second half, slotting home a cross from Titsworth to give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead at the 45:42 mark. The sophomore doubled her daily total less than two minutes later, unleashing a driven strike into the upper 90 from 20 yards distance off a feed from Titsworth.
The Bobcats kept the Crusaders off the score sheet until the early moments of the 73rd minute, when Baker found the back off the net following an assist from Mims to trim the margin to 4-1. Arendt would answer seven minutes later, completing her treble 10 minutes from time off a Titsworth cross to equal the final margin of 5-1.
"It was another great effort from the ladies today," said Bobcat head coach Nick Whiting. "I'm disappointed to lose the shutout, but overall it was a very successful day. We were all very excited for [Sam] Arendt, claiming her first career hat trick. Now we get back to work for a tough game on Monday."
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Monday when the Bobcats travel to Greeneville, Tenn. to take on Tusculum College in non-conference action at 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: James Smith, LMC Athletics