KANSAS CITY, MO--The Lees-McRae Bobcats soccer team finished the 2007 season as the seventh ranked team in NCAA Division II Men's according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas final post season poll. The final post season ranking of seventh in the nation is the best in program history, bettering the Bobcats last year's end ranking of 22nd in 2002.
In a storybook season, Head Coach Chris Whalley led the Bobcats to a number of program firsts in just his third year as head coach. The Bobcats, who finished the season with a 21-2-1 record, earned their first ever trip to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships, defeating Queens University of Charlotte (3-0) and Lander University (1-0), before falling to University of Montevallo in Elite Eight action. Before qualifying for the NCAA Championships, the Bobcats earned their first Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship since 2001 and their first Tournament Championship since 2003. The conference double is also the first time in history that a team from Conference Carolinas, or the former Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference, has claimed both the regular season and tournament championship in the same season. The Bobcats' 21 wins in 2007 is the best in program history.
After starting the season unranked, the Bobcats cracked the NSCAA/adidas poll after the second week of the season, entering the Top 25 at #19 after a 4-0 start. After a 1-0-1 week defeating Erskine and tying #15 Clayton State University, the Bobcats moved up to #11, a program best at the time. Following a heartbreaking last minute 1-0 loss in double overtime to conference foe Anderson, the Bobcats dropped to #18 in the poll with a 5-1-1 record. The Bobcats would respond by winning a program record 16 consecutive games, jumping to #7 to crack to the top ten for the first time after week five. Catapulting the Bobcats through the national rankings, the streak was started by three consecutive shutouts, moving the Bobcats to #3 after week six and up one to number two after week seven. The Bobcats would hold the #2 ranking; the program's new all time best through weeks eight, nine and ten and into the NCAA Tournament.
"I am extremely proud of the boys and what we were able to accomplish this past season. We set some goals for ourselves at the beginning of the season, playing in November and being one of the top ten teams in the nation are just two," stated Whalley. "I am proud of our team, the sacrifices they have made and the hard work that they have put in. While we're very disappointed that our season came to an end in the quarterfinals of the national championships, at the end of the day we're all pleased with our season. We know what it takes to get here and how much harder we have to work now to get to where we want to be; we're excited for next season."
PICTURED TOP LEFT: 2007 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year Berin Boracic in NCAA Tournament action.