BANNER ELK, N.C. ---The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team and Pfeiffer University played to a scoreless draw on Saturday evening in Conference Carolinas play on Tate Field, needing 110 minutes to each earn a result in a physical and tightly contested battle.
Lees-McRae (3-8-1, 2-3-1 CC) dominated possession and peppered the Pfeiffer (0-10-2, 0-5-1 CC) goal with a seemingly endless barrage of shots, outshooting the Falcons by a 38-8 margin, including a 20-3 advantage in the second half. The Bobcats held a 10-4 edge in corner kicks on the night, as junior Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made three saves to record his 13th career shutout.
Junior James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) paced the Bobcats with a career-high 12 shots, as Preston Shahdad (Charlotte, N.C.) took six attempts at goal. James Smith (Eastbourne, England) and Scott Alford (Hillsborough, N.C.) each tallied five shots on the day.
Cristian Padilla and Zach Liles combined to stop 12 shots for the Falcons, as Liles came on following the interval and logged the final 65 minutes, making 10 saves. Dale Ashford paced the Falcons with two shots, including one on frame.
The Bobcats came out firing from the first whistle, launching 12 shots at goal in the first half as Galvani nearly provided the breakthrough with a pair of glorious chances in the opening 15 minutes, including a headed effort in the 14th that sailed just wide of the woodwork.
John Williams (Rutherfordton, N.C.) and Galvani forced Padilla to preserve the deadlock with a pair of brilliant shots in the 28th minute, before Smith nearly gave the Bobcats an early advantage in the 37th when his driven shot wrung the bar from distance.
The Bobcats continued to press the attack in the second half, sending 20 shots toward goal in the period, including a quartet of Galvani efforts in the opening 20 minutes that sailed just wide of the post. Alford nearly provided the breakthrough in the 68th minute, nodding a free header inches right of the woodwork.
Liles made perhaps the save of the evening in the 75th minute, denying a well-struck effort by Galvani from the penalty spot after the Falcons were called for a hand ball off a corner kick. The Falcon keeper made a trio of key stops over the final 15 minutes of regulation, preserving the deadlock and sending the match to extra time as a pair of driven efforts from Shahdad and Galvani sailed just wide of the woodwork from distance.
The Bobcat attack continued to push forward in search of a winner in extra time, outshooting the Falcons by a 6-1 margin in the additional 20 minutes while forcing Liles to make four skillful stops. Freshman Matthew Cureton (Waxhaw, N.C.) nearly delivered the winner twice within a minute in the second extra time period, sending a pair of magnificent efforts just wide as Shahdad and TC Stephens (Fuquay-Varina, N.C.) forced two saves by Liles in the waning moments.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats host Limestone College in a pivotal conference matchup at 7 p.m. on Tate Field.
- LMC -