The Lees-McRae College Bobcats soccer team will begin the 2007 season with high expectations, returning 16 letter winners from last season's 8-7-3, (5-3-2 CVAC) squad that earned the program's highest National ranking in history, thirteenth.
"We are returning 16 guys and have brought in some new blood and really hope that we can become more consistent and begin to achieve our potential," stated Head Coach Chris Whalley, (pictured top left). "We were ranked as high as 13th in the nation last year but mid-season polls win you nothing, and we need to make sure we are there at the end of the year."
Of those returning players there will be no shortage of offense, as the top four scorers from a year ago are back in green and gold this fall. Berin Boracic (Orlando, FL) returns for his junior season after leading the team with 15 goals and four assists in 2006 on his way to earning First Team All-CVAC and Second Team All-Region honors from both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Daktronics. Sophomore Matt Lacey (Norwich, England) joined Boracic on the NSCCA All-Region Second Team while also garnering Second Team All-CVAC accolades in his first season of collegiate soccer. Boracic and Lacey finished third and ninth respectively in conference scoring while junior Kyle McGimsey (Plant City, FL), one of the conference's top playmakers, placed fifth in assists registering a team high seven. Do-it-all midfielder Diego Cordiero (Orlando, FL) will play his last season in a Bobcats uniform this fall and brings experience and tenacity at both ends of the field. Cordiero scored three goals and three assists in 2006, and is a former All CVAC honoree, (Second Team 2005).
After earning All-CVAC Honorable Mention a year ago, junior Johnny Bownes (Worksop, England) will anchor the back field for the Bobcats. Classmates Nathan Bird (Stapely, England) and Ian Dargavel (Neath, Wales) also provide stability and experience on the back line while senior Nathan Wall (Des Moines, IA) moves back from the midfield and will look to generate transition for the Bobcats from the defensive end of the field.
"The return of upper classmen who are impact players for us is great, however it's a team game. I hope other players, old and new, can step up and help us achieve our team goals," commented Whalley. "It's nice for some of the boys to be recognized individually, but the team targets are foremost in our thoughts."
The Bobcats will open their season on the road this weekend, kicking things off Friday August 24th at Francis Marion University. The teams have split the last two meetings, with the Bobcats falling 2-1 in 2005 and winning 4-1 a year ago. The Bobcats travel to UNC-Pembroke Sunday before returning home Wednesday, August 29th to host King College in a double header with the women.