Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team will open its 2018 season with two games this week, traveling to Anderson (S.C.) for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Thursday (Aug. 30) and taking on Lenoir-Rhyne at home on Saturday (Sept. 1) at 7:00 p.m. Video and live stats for both contests will be available at www.lmcbobcats.com.
About the Bobcats - LMC was slated second in the Conference Carolinas preseason coaches' poll coming off a season where they reached the Conference Carolinas tournament semifinals and notched 11 wins, including seven in Conference Carolinas. The Bobcats return three All-Conference selections in senior forward Pol Vassart, junior defender Harvey McMorrow and sophomore forward Johannes Oeksnevad. Vassart is one of the premier scoring threats in the Southeast region, coming off of a 12-goal, 28-point campaign in 2017. He was named to the All-Conference First Team as well as the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) First Team. McMurrow comes into 2018 having been an All-Conference First Team, a NCCSIA First Team and a D2CCA All-Southeast Region First Team selection a season ago. Oeksnevad was the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year in 2017, as well as an All-Conference Second Team selection. In his rookie campaign, he totaled seven goals and two assists for 16 points.
Meet the Newcomers - LMC welcomes 10 true freshmen to the roster this year in Martin Myklebust (Moss, Norway), Johan Hedberg (Stockholm, Sweden), Fredrik Haave (Haslum, Norway), Philip Oldin (Upsala, Sweden), Connor Hahn (Davidson, N.C.), Uriel Castro Zavaleta (Charlotte, N.C.), Anton Sundstrom (Ostersund, Sweden), Faris Serafim (Banner Elk, N.C.), Santiago Betancourt (Hickory, N.C.) and Palani Nieknul (Greensboro, N.C.).
Newcomers to Watch - Head Coach Rich Wall noted two newcomers to watch for LMC in sophomore midfielder Francisco Silvesre (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and freshman forward Fredrik Haave (Haslum, Norway). Silvestre was Third Team All-Conference at Louisiana College in the American Southwest Conference as a freshman, notching seven points on three goals and one assist in his rookie campaign. Haave had a solid preseason for LMC, notching a goal and an assist in preseason action.
About the Opponents - Anderson will open its 2018 season against LMC on Thursday night, after being picked sixth in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) preseason coaches' poll. Anderson recorded a 9-8-1 record in 2017, reaching the SAC tournament semifinals. The Trojans return their lone All-Conference selection in senior forward Cameron Emerson, who totaled four goals and two assists in 17 matches in 2017.
Lenoir-Rhyne posted a 10-4-3 overall mark a season ago, including a 6-2-2 record in conference play. 2017 was the second straight season that L-R advanced to the NCAA tournament. The Bears were picked to finish second in the SAC preseason coaches' poll, and had four players voted to the Preseason All-SAC Team in senior forward Ignacio de Goya, sophomore midfielder Victor Cascon, senior midfielder Florian Simon and senior defender Emil Tansinda.
Series Records vs. Opponents - This will be the 30th all-time meeting between Lees-McRae and Anderson. LMC leads the all-time series 16-12-1, with the last meeting coming in 2016 and resulting in a 2-1 double-overtime win for Anderson.
This will be the 16th all-time meeting between Lees-McRae and Lenoir-Rhyne, with L-R holding a 6-5 edge in the series along with four ties between the teams. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Hickory, N.C. last season.