In preparations for the upcoming 2007 season, the Lees-McRae Lady Bobcats soccer team scrimmaged the Lady Bobcats alumni this past Saturday. Former Lady Bobcats from as far back as the Class of '93 took to the field with former Head Coach, and current Lees-McRae Athletic Director, Ried Estus patrolling the sidelines.
"The field is big," commented Karen VanWerts '93 amid laughter from her fellow teammates, "it's great getting out here with all the girls; I think we all had fun tonight." Jeanne Cobb, also a member of the Class of '93 commented, "The facilities are amazing, and the team looks pretty good."
Although former Lady Bobcat Allison McDonald Norris '93 is still on campus, getting the chance to step onto Tate Field once again brought back many memories for the College' Dean of Students. "It was great to play as a Bobcat one more time. Even though I am a little older, and a little slower," McDonald Norris commented with a laugh, "I still got the same special feeling when I walked on the field. Nothing beats the smell of the fresh cut grass of Tate Field!"
The game allowed Head Coach Renee Lopez to get a glimpse of the team's eleven freshman in game action and also the chance to evaluate the returning players as the team prepares for a pair of scrimmages before their season opener.
"We were extremely excited to have these alumni come back to campus," commented Lopez. "This gives us an opportunity to scrimmage and train our system for this fall season. We do hope to make this an annual event and look forward to having even more alumni playing next year."
The evening not only allowed Lopez a chance to see her team in action, but also gave Estus a chance to reminisce and spend time with some of his former players.
"Any night I get to catch-up with my alumni is a good night," commented Estus. "When you spend four years with someone and go through the stress of the competitive season, you become very close. These ladies have enriched my life in so many ways and there's probably no tangible way to express that to them, but I think they know they'll always be 'my ladies'."
One alumnus in particular looked like she hadn't missed in a beat in the ten years since she donned the green and gold. Ashley Rogers '97 ended her career as the 1996 CVAC Player of the Year while garnering NSCAA All Region honors twice. With the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference changing its name to Conference Carolinas, CVAC member institutions nominated players for an All Time Team. Rogers was one of three Lady Bobcats named to the CVAC's All Time Team.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the CVAC and certainly great to be back here on campus," commented Rogers. "I cannot describe how much having Ms. Rita, (Director of Athletic Training), and Ried here to share this weekend with all of us means to me. Ried was the best coach I ever had in my soccer career, and Ms. Rita taught me so much, both in the classroom and in the athletic training clinic. I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without their guidance."
Rogers is currently an athletic trainer and teacher at Lake Howell High School in Florida.
The Lady Bobcats will scrimmage Montreat and Columbia before opening the season August 25th at Brevard.
Lady Bobcats Alumni Game 2007
Jeanne Cobb '93
Karen VanWerts '93
Sheila Moffett-Fabri '93
Allison McDonald-Norris '93
Tanya Naumann '96
Ashley Rogers '97
Michelle Beckner '99
Stacy Outlaw '00
Top Left: Lady Bobcats Team Photo, (2008 Lady Bobcats, Alumni)
Bottom Left: Athletic Director Ried Estus discusses strategy with his former players
Bottom Center: Michelle Beckner '99 looks to beat midfileder
Aerial Gregston '10 while defender Ashley Splawn '10 looks on