HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Jordan Wright (West Lothian, Scotland) garnered Freshman of the Year honors to lead a group of six players from the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team on the all-Conference Carolinas teams, announced league officials Thursday.
Lees-McRae (9-7-1, 5-3 CC) made a triumphant return to the top half of the league table this season, posting a 5-3 record against conference opponents to earn the fourth seed in the conference tournament. The Bobcats were one of the best defensive teams in league play this fall, allowing six goals in eight matches while keeping five clean sheets.
Limestone College led the way with nine all-conference selections, followed by Erskine College and Lees-McRae with seven and six, respectively. Barton College had four while King University earned a pair of selections.
Erskine's Andrew Settlemire was named the Offensive Player of the Year, as the Fleet's Roberto De La Vina and Warren Turner earned Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honors, respectively. Wright represented the Bobcats as the Freshman of the Year, becoming the third player in program history to earn the honor.
The Bobcats placed three on the second team and three on the third team, as freshman Marvyn Rieger (Frankfurt, Germany) and senior Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) joined Wright on the second team, as Matthew Cureton (Waxhaw, N.C.), Andrew Shoemaker (Raleigh, N.C.), and Yago Xavier (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) each earned third-team honors.
Wright paced the Bobcats with 10 goals, five assists and 25 points this season, while netting a trio of match-winners. The 6-3, 200-pound forward led all freshmen with six goals and 12 points in conference play, scoring braces against Belmont Abbey College and King.
Rusling caps one of the best individual careers in program history with his second all-conference nod, finishing his four-year tenure with the Bobcats ranked third in shutouts (21), goals against average (1.09), and save percentage (0.764), and fourth in wins (36).The senior goalkeeper kept at least five clean sheets in each of his four seasons, including a career-high seven shutouts this fall. Rusling has been named to two all-region teams in his career conference tournament MVP honors in 2010.
Rieger helped the backline keep five clean sheets this fall, starting every match at center back while tallying one goal and one assist. The Frankfurt, Germany native's lone strike of the season came at the perfect time, getting the Bobcats off to a flying start with a 26th-minute goal in a 3-0 win over North Greenville on September 28.
Cureton enjoyed perhaps his best season with the Bobcats, recording four goals and four assists to finish the campaign third on the team with 12 points. The Waxhaw, N.C. native also scored a pair of match-winners, netting the decisive strikes at North Georgia and Mount Olive. Cureton also delivered a career-high two assists in the Bobcats' 3-0 win over North Greenville.
Shoemaker turned in another stellar season in the center of the park for the Green and Gold, tallying a career-high five points with one goal and three assists. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Shoemaker provided a trio of pivotal assists this fall, including a key helper on Scott Alford's (Hillsborough, N.C.) opening strike in the Bobcats' 2-1 win over then-fifth-ranked Wingate University. The junior midfielder also netted his first career goal at Mount Olive on October 26, securing a 2-0 win for Lees-McRae.
Xavier put together a strong first season in the Green and Gold, notching two goals and three assists in 14 appearances. The sophomore forward scored perhaps the biggest goal of his career on September 18 at Wingate, running on to a through ball from Wright and tucking the finish into the corner for his first collegiate match-winner.
Lees-McRae is expected to return 21 letter-winners from this season's squad which posted a 5-3 record in conference play, while limiting opponents to just six goals in league action. The Bobcats will bring a talented and seasoned corps into the 2014 campaign, led by rising seniors James Smith (Eastbourne, England), James Galvani (High Wycombe, England), Brandon Meade (Mocksville, N.C.), Andrew Shoemaker (Raleigh, N.C.), and Alford.
- LMC -