Bobcats outlast Saints to open conference play

BOONE, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team overcame inclement weather and a late venue change to defeat Limestone College in a 2-1 thriller to open Conference Carolinas play.

The Bobcats were paced by two goals from James Galvani (High Wycombe, U.K.) and Luke Perry (Cheshire, U.K.), while the Saints' Tom Morris (Berkshire, England) cut the Bobcat lead in half late in the contest.

Lees-McRae (2-1, 1-0) opened conference play on Saturday evening on different terms than they would have liked. Due to sloppy conditions in Banner Elk, the Bobcats were forced to move their home contest to the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex in Boone to face off with league foe Limestone (2-2, 0-1) to open the 2010 conference season.

Fog settled lightly on the field just prior to kickoff. The Bobcats wasted no time cutting through the mist when Justin Jones (Jamestown, N.C.) swung a free kick into the box, and Galvani placed the ball neatly to the near side of the net to give LMC the 1-0 advantage in the second minute. Both teams battled through the remainder of the opening half, trading possession, with neither able to make a strong push toward goal.

As the second half opened, tension was high between the two squads with Perry breaking the silence in the 54th minute, placing a David Palmer (Gateshead, U.K.) cross off the far post and into the goal to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.

The Bobcats seemed to be cruising, yet Limestone would not go quietly, turning up the intensity late in the contest and cutting the LMC lead to one, when Morris placed a Lee Smyth (Somerset, England) offering into the far corner of the goal in the 82nd minute of play.

Tensions continued to run high as the clock counted down the final seconds of play with LMC earning the hard-fought 2-1 victory on the Mackorell turf. The Bobcats out-shot the Saints by a 21-15 margin, with seven of those on frame for LMC and five for Limestone. Thomas Rushing (Sheffield, U.K.) tallied four saves in goal for the Bobcats, while H.B. Lockwood (Anderson, S.C.) notched five stops for the Saints.

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Tuesday, traveling to Belmont, N.C. to face off with Belmont Abbey in conference play.

- LMC -