TAMPA, FLA. -- The Lees-McRae College Bobcats men's soccer team came up just short in the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship Match with a 1-0 loss to Fort Lewis in a physical match at Pepin Stadium.
The lone goal of the match came in the 78th minute when a Kyle Wood cross found David Barden on the back post to give Fort Lewis the 1-0 win.
The Skyhawks outshot the Bobcats 14-11 including 7-3 on frame, but Lees-McRae held a 5-3 corner kick advantage.
Sean Paradise made six saves for the Bobcats between the pipes and again kept the Bobcats in the match from his back line for the second time in Tampa.
Luke Perry had the Bobcats best chance at a goal in the first half but couldn't settle the ball the get a quality shot on frame, and in the second half, Berin Boracic's shot was saved by the Skyhawks keeper right to David Palmer whose shot was saved just outside of the goal by a Skyhawk defender.
"I am very proud of what we have done this season," head coach Chris Whalley said. "There are 200 something men's soccer programs in Division II, and we don't have the most scholarship, the biggest budget, the best travel, the biggest school or the best meals, but we are a family and we work hard together. The support we get from the campus community and the town's community is outstanding, and I can't thank them enough. We had people leave at midnight tonight and drive 14 hours through the night to get here and they were loud from 50-minutes before the match to 20-minutes following the match."
"I don't know why we were the underdog in this match because
after the first 20 minutes I felt we controlled the game," said
Whalley. "We scouted them well and knew they were a good crossing
team. We took that away the entire match, except for that one time
and they made us pay."
Making the Final Four All-Tournament Team for the Bobcats was midfield, Sam Kennedy, goalkeeper, Paradise and forward, Boracic.
The Bobcats' season ends at 18-3-2 and by far the best season in the school's and Conference Carolinas history. Also the careers of five seniors ended tonight in Tampa. Goalkeeper Dylan Lawrence, midfielder Ignacio Falco, defender Dale Parker, Paradise and Boracic will go down as Lees-McRae's most winning class in men's soccer. The five were 64-15-9 with three Sweet Sixteen trips, two Elite Eight matches, one Final Four match and one National Championship match.