BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The second-ranked Lees-McRae College men's soccer team rode a Lee Squires (Sheffield, UK) brace, and a strong second half en route to a 3-1 victory against Tusculum College on Sunday afternoon at Tate Field. The win marks head coach Matt Thompson's first victory at Lees-McRae.
Lees-McRae (1-1) tallied 20 shots in the match, out-shooting the Pioneers (0-1-1) by a 20-11 margin, including an 11-5 advantage in the first half. Squires led the way for Lees-McRae with five attempts on goal in the match, including four on frame, while Luke Perry (Chesire, UK) and David Palmer (Gateshead, UK) chipped in four and three shots, respectively. Andres Jarquin (Guatemala City, Guatemala) paced the Pioneers with four shots, as Javier Portillo (Guatemala City, Guatemala) chipped in three attempts of his own.
Squires was an instrumental part of the win for Lees-McRae, pacing the Bobcats with two goals and an assist while Perry added the match-winning goal early in the second half. Justin Jones (Jamestown, N.C.) and Palmer chipped in two and one assists, respectively, while James Galvani (High Wycombe, UK) added a helper of his own.
Portillo tallied his first collegiate goal for the Pioneers as fellow freshman Matt Davies (Blaxland, NSW Australia) picked up his first career assist. Sophomore Andy Goellner (Denver, Colo.) also made a match-high eight saves in goal for the Pioneers.
Squires opened the scoring early on, drilling a header past the TC keeper in the second minute off a corner from Palmer to give Lees-McRae an early 1-0 lead. Perry doubled the advantage midway through the 48th minute, driving a wonderful finish into the top corner after Squires threaded a perfect cross off a well placed lead pass from Jones.
Lees-McRae would stretch the lead to 3-0 on Squires' second goal of the match midway through the 58th minute, when Galvani one-touched a cross from Jones right to Squires, who then pivoted and slotted a perfect finish inside the far post. Tusculum would battle hard to stay within striking distance, cutting the margin to 3-1 when Portillo drove home a brilliant free kick from Davies early in the 80th minute.
The Bobcats return to the pitch on Saturday, September 11 when they host Limestone College to open their Conference Carolinas schedule. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Tate Field.
- LMC -