The Lees-McRae Lady Bobcats will look to continue their steady improvement under third year Head Coach Renee Lopez in 2007. After a three win campaign in '05, the Lady Bobcats doubled that total a year ago and will look to add to it this year with eight starters returning.
"We are really excited for this season to get underway as we look to build upon our successes last year," commented Lopez. "We are returning eight starters with outstanding leadership qualities for our eleven freshmen. Kaylie Henne (Plainville, AR), Aleeshia Fisher (Lenoir, NC), Sadie Williams (Gastonia, NC) and Morgan Worch (Marietta, GA) will all contribute to our back line immediately."
In goal, there will be some new faces vying to protect the Lady Bobcats net. Three year starter and former All Region player Anita Hekman has graduated opening the door for sophomore Molly Grantham (Goldsboro, NC) who returns to the field after shoulder surgery. A trio of talented freshman will push Grantham in the cage as Brittany Bolton (Roanoke, VA), Marissa Middleton (Olathe, KS) and Martha Peacock (Mooresville, NC) have shown well in preseason. The quartet of goalkeepers is not only adept at stopping the ball, but putting it in the back of the net also. Each one in this versatile group has seen time both in goal and on the front line in preseason practice and scrimmages.
Speaking of the front line, the Lady Bobcats will have to wait until midseason to get the services of returning leading scorer Maribeth Novak, (pictured top left), after being sidelined with off season foot surgery. The Homer Glen, IL native capped her freshman campaign with a Second Team All Conference nod after leading the Lady Bobcats with eight goals a season ago.
"We are excited and anxious to have Maribeth back on the field," stated Lopez. "Her work ethic in her rehabilitation has been outstanding; we are looking for her to be an impact player once she is healthy."
With such a youthful squad, (eleven freshman, ten sophomores), the Lady Bobcats will be looking to the likes of seniors Brittany Sherrill (Winston-Salem, NC), Katherine Smith (Banner Elk, NC), Gennie Garcia, (Fort Worth, TX) and junior captain Christine Calvert (Dallas, TX) to lead the way.
"That foursome is determined to take our young team deep into the Conference Carolinas Tournament," stated Lopez. "They are some of the best mentors our young student-athletes could have, as each goes the distance both on and off the field for the team. Each brings a sense of comfort and stability to the field; I am very proud how they have developed and matured over the past couple of years."
With a young team and high expectations, the Lady Bobcats
certainly have their work cut out for them.
"We have very talented freshman and sophomore classes, however we are lacking experience," stated Lopez. "Our preseason scrimmages allowed us to get everyone in and get rid of the freshman jitters, allowing the ladies to get comfortable playing with one another."
The Lady Bobcats open their season August 25th at Brevard
College. Kickoff is set for 2:00pm.