2009 Bobcats Start Season Ranked 13th in the NCAA and Picked to Win the Conference Carolinas

BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College Bobcat's men's soccer team starts the season ranked 13th in the NCAA and picked to three-peat as Conference Carolinas regular season champions in 2009.

The Bobcats return an experienced core from a season ago that went 17-3-3 overall, 9-0-1 in conference play, won the conference regular season and tournament championships and earned a bid into the NCAA Tournament before falling in the Sweet Sixteen.

The squad returns two-time All-American and Conference Carolinas Player of the Year at the forward position, Lee Squires, who was third in the NCAA in goals per game with 1.19 and fifth in points per game with 2.48. He scored 25 goals in 21 games and had a total of 52 points.

The Bobcats also return First Team All-Conference defender Dale Parker, Second Team All-Conference forward David Palmer, Second Team All-Conference goalkeeper Sean Paradise and Third Team All-Conference defender and Conference Carolinas Tournament Most Valuable Player Luke Duffy. Parker and Paradise also earned All-Southeast Region honors for their efforts in the 2008 season.

Former All-American, Berin Boracic, returns after missing the entire 2008 season with an injury. Boracic earned 2007 All-American honors with 18 goals and 11 assists for a total of 47 points in 24 games in 2007.

The Bobcats begin the season ranked 13th NCAA Division II men's season. The Bobcats are the highest ranked team in the Conference Carolinas and the second highest ranked team in the Southeast Region. The Bobcats started last season ranked tenth and in the 2007 season held the number two ranking, which is the highest ranking in school history.

"I am proud of the number one preseason ranking," head coach Chris Whalley said. "But we realize it is where you are ranked in November that matters. We feel we have put together a good squad for the 2009 season, but we understand there is a lot of improvement and hard work a head of us if we want to achieve our goals of the season."

The Bobcats open the 2009 season at home against King College on August 27th at 7 p.m. and start conference play September 12th when Erskine travels to Tate Field at 4:00 p.m.

Conference Carolinas Men's Soccer Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis) as voted on by the conference coaches

1. Lees-McRae (9) 99

2. Limestone (2) 87

3. Anderson 83

4. Belmont Abbey 67

5. Queens 66

6. Pfeiffer 60

7. Mount Olive 45

8. Erskine 32

9. Coker 27

10. St. Andrews 25

11. Barton 14