BANNER ELK, NC--The #3 Lees-McRae College Bobcats defeated North Georgia College and State University 2-0 in a non-conference contest Wednesday evening at Tate Field. The Bobcats improve to 10-1-1 this season while the Saints fall to 5-7-1.
The nationally ranked Bobcats came out flying in the first half, peppering the Saints with shots and creating many opportunities to strike first. However, Saints goalkeeper Brandon Kirksey was equal to the task, posting five saves in the first half while other attempts glanced wide or hit the cross bar. The Bobcats outshot the Saints 12-2 in the first half, but the teams entered halftime with zeroes on the board.
After a handball was assessed to a Saints defender in the 54th minute, the Bobcats turned to Conference Carolinas leading goal scorer Lee Squires to put the Bobcats on the board first. The Sheffield, England native made no mistake with a quick stutter step before shooting to the open side of the goal for his 11th of the season. In the 60th minute, Logan Linton's (Cocoa, FL) cross from the top right of the box was sent in perfectly, allowing the dangerous Squires to get a running header on goal and past Kirksey for his second of the game, his third multiple goal game this season.
"I am very pleased with the way we passed the ball, and the patience we showed with possession against a resilient North Georgia team. If we can continue to earn clean sheets and defend well while also creating scoring opportunities, we should be in every game," commented Head Coach Chris Whalley referring to his team's Conference Carolinas leading seventh shutout of the season.
The Bobcats outshot the Saints 25-7 with Kirksey registering ten saves. Sean Paradise (North Point, FL) registered five saves in the win, earning his sixth shutout of the season.
In addition to being ranked third in the country, the Bobcats team offense (3.55 goals per game) ranks fifth while their seven shutouts is the third highest total in NCAA Division II this season.
The Bobcats will resume Conference Carolinas action Saturday afternoon when St. Andrews Presbyterian College visits Tate Field. Kickoff is set for 3:30pm as part of Lees-McRae Homecoming festivities.
PICTURED TOP LEFT: Lee Squires