BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lee Squires (Sheffield, England) recorded a goal and an assist, and Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made six saves to lead the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team to a 2-0 shutout over Coker College in the Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship on Sunday at Tate Field.
Lees-McRae (13-4-3) outshot the Cobras (7-7-5) by a 16-11 margin, including an 8-6 advantage in the second half en route to its third Conference Carolinas Tournament title in the last four years. Squires paced the Bobcats with his league-leading 14th goal of the season, while also adding a late assist. James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) chipped in his 10th goal of the campaign for LMC, while Rusling notched his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Squires opened the scoring early in the 34th minute, taking advantage of a foul by Coker just outside the area and bending the set piece into the back of net for 22 yards distance to give LMC a 1-0 lead. Galvani doubled the advantage in the 51st minute, delivering a strong header past the keeper after Squires sent a brilliant cross to the back post from the right flank.
Rusling made several outstanding saves to earn Tournament MVP honors, as fellow Bobcats David Palmer (Gateshead, England), Luke Duffy (Wakefield, England), Justin Jones (Jamestown, N.C.) and Squires each earned a spot on the all-Tournament team.
Erskine's Matt Sluga (Greer, S.C.) and Pfeiffer's Alex Moreno (Huntersville, N.C.) each earned a spot on the all-Tournament team as well, while Mark Mergena (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Rommel Fondin (Palm Bay, Fla.), and James Sweeney (Huntingdon, Md.) from Coker also received all-Tournament honors.
Lees-McRae now awaits word on a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship. The field of 30 teams will be announced on Monday, when the NCAA selection show airs via free webcast at 7 p.m. on NCAA.com.
- LMC -
Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team
Matt Sluga, Erskine
Alex Moreno, Pfeiffer
Mark Mergena, Coker
Rommel Fondin, Coker
James Sweeney, Coker
David Palmer, Lees-McRae
Luke Duffy, Lees-McRae
Lee Squires, Lees-McRae
Justin Jones, Lees-McRae
Thomas Rusling, Lees-McRae
Tournament MVP: Thomas Rusling, Lees-McRae