BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team is set to host the Michael Shope Memorial Tournament this weekend, honoring a fallen teammate while taking on nationally-ranked opponents University of Montevallo and Flagler College.
The Bobcats will host the second annual Michael Shope Memorial Tournament this weekend, paying tribute to former Bobcat Michael "Mike" Shope, who passed away on March 16, 2006 as a result of a tragic boating accident off the North Carolina coast near Ocean Isle. He and three other men lost their lives when their fishing boat capsized in rough waters; two of the six men on the boat survived. Head coach Lee Squires and the Bobcat soccer family will honor the Shope family prior to kickoff against No. 22 Flagler on Saturday.
Mike, a 2003 graduate of Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C., was in his junior year at Lees-McRae College working towards a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Michael was a three-year letter-winner on the Bobcat's soccer team, and was looking forward to being the only four-year letterman on the team as a senior. Michael was also a volunteer firefighter for the Banner Elk Volunteer Fire Department, and had been with the department for approximately two years at the time of his death.
Mike had also successfully passed the North Carolina state exam for EMT-Basic, and was planning to complete the EMT-Intermediate course. His goal in life was to be a professional firefighter, and was well on his way to doing so. Mike was a wonderful son and brother, a good friend to everyone he met, and was loved by many. He touched many lives with his perpetual sense of humor, his love of life, and his award-winning smile.
The Bobcats will open the tournament and the season on Thursday, taking on No. 19 Montevallo on Tate Field at 6 p.m. in Squires' regular season debut on the touchline. Flagler will then play King College (Tenn.) on Friday at 4 p.m., before Montevallo takes the pitch against Milligan College on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bobcats will conclude the weekend with a pivotal matchup against No. 22 Flagler on Saturday, with a scheduled kickoff at 3 p.m. on Tate Field.
- LMC -