Four Bobcats garner Conference Carolinas Academic honors

HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Four members of the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team have been named to the Conference Carolinas Academic All-Conference team for the first time in their careers, announced league officials Thursday.

Lees-McRae (9-6-1, 5-3 CC) has enjoyed a resurgence this season, clinching a top-half finish in the league standings and the fourth seed in next week's conference tournament following a 2-0 win over Mount Olive College this past Saturday. The Bobcats stretched their winning streak to three on Wednesday night, earning a 3-2 victory over Lincoln Memorial University on Senior Night.

Scott Alford (Hillsborough, N.C.), Andrew Shoemaker (Raleigh, N.C.), James Smith (Eastbourne, England), and Ryan Gillespie (Holly Springs, N.C.) represented Lees-McRae as one of six schools with four or more honorees on the academic all-conference teams.

Alford has put together one of the best seasons of his career this fall, tallying six goals and three assists to rank second on the team in scoring with 15 points. The Hillsborough, N.C. native tallied two of his strikes on Wednesday night in the Bobcats' 3-2 win over Lincoln Memorial, pushing his career total to 15 goals, seven assists, and 37 points.

Shoemaker has played an integral role in the Bobcats' success this season, setting a career-high with five points, including a trio of assists while directing play in the center of the park. The Raleigh, N.C. native netted his third career goal this past Saturday, adding an insurance strike with a deft piece of skill to cement the Bobcats' victory over Mount Olive.

Smith has been a large part of Lees-McRae's rise over the last three years, tallying eight goals and 11 assists as the Bobcats' controlling midfielder. The Eastbourne, England native put together perhaps his best season in 2011, posting six goals, eight assists and two match-winners en route to a spot on the all-conference second team.

Gillespie is in the midst of perhaps his most influential campaign with the Bobcats, wearing the captain's armband for much of the season while directing the back line from the right back position. A native of Holly Springs, N.C., Gillespie tallied his fifth career goal earlier this season at Milligan, converting from the penalty spot to spur the Bobcats to a 3-2 extra time victory.

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Tuesday evening when the fourth-seeded Bobcats host the as-yet-to-be-determined fifth seed in the quarterfinal round of this year's conference tournament at 7 p.m. on Tate Field.

- LMC -