Mount Olive, NC--Lee Squires' goal in the 107th minute broke a scoreless tie and gave Lees-McRae a conference championship as the top-seeded and nationally second-ranked Bobcats posted a double overtime 1-0 victory over No. 2 seed Queens in the championship game of the 2007 Conference Carolinas Men's Soccer Tournament Sunday at Mount Olive. Sophomore Lee Squires (Sheffield, England) was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
A defensive battle, Lees-McRae (19-1-1) held a 4-1 shot advantage over Queens in the first half, and neither team got another shot off through the first 26 minutes of the second half. The Bobcats' best opportunity in the second half came on a direct kick from 22 yards out, but Berin Boracic's (Orlando, FL) shot went over the crossbar.
Queens (10-6-3) had a direct kick opportunity in the 88th minute, but Chad Pinnick's (Satellite Beach, FL) 25-yard attempt was wide left.
Squires almost ended the match with 55 seconds left in the first overtime on a 15-yard attempt from the left side of the box. Queens goalkeeper Dan Williams (Kingwood, TX) dove to his left and got a hand on the ball to deflect it wide of the post. The Royals prevented a shot attempt on the ensuing corner kick.
Both teams renamed scoreless in the first overtime, forcing the game into a second fifteen minute sudden death playoff period to decide the Conference Carolinas Tournament Champion.
Logan Berrier (Easton, MD) nearly gave Queens the win less than two minutes into the second overtime, but Lees-McRae goalkeeper Sean Paradise (North Point, FL) made a save on Berrier's shot.
Then it was LMC's Dale Parker (Worksop, England) setting up the winning goal, winning a ball at midfield and playing it all the way to Boracic just above the box. Boracic chipped the ball to his left to Squires, who scored the game-winner at the 106:43 mark, clinching the fourth conference championship overall for Lees-McRae and the first since 2003.
Head Coach Chris Whalley commented,"This was a great game. I felt we played well defensively. Lee (Squires) is a great player and more importantly, a great person, and I'm happy for him scoring the winning goal."
Lee Squires added, "All of a sudden, the ball was right in front of me. I took the shot and I'm glad it went in. I didn't want to do penalty kicks."
Lees-McRae outshot Queens 12-3 for the match. Williams had three saves for the Royals, while Paradise recorded one save for the Bobcats.
Lee Squires, who leads the Bobcats with 22 goals on the season, was selected MVP for the tournament. Joining Squires on the All-Tournament Team are four teammates: Sean Paradise, Johnny Boynes (Worksop, England), Matt Lacey (Norwich, England) and Nathan Wall (Des Moines, IA). Queens was represented by Williams, Will Massey and Chad Pinnick.
While the conference tournament champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship, Lees-McRae, ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Region, is likely assured a tournament berth and may get to host the regional. Queens, which entered the week tied at No. 4 in the region, is hoping for an at-large bid.
Pictured Top: Lee Squires
Bottom: Squires Goal then Conference Champions Team Picture below