BANNER ELK, NC - Lees-McRae College women's soccer coach Renee Lopez enters her fourth season at the helm of the Lady Bobcats program with high expectations returning 14 letterwinners from last season's team.
After a 5-15 season a year ago with 13 players in just their freshman and sophomore years, the Lady Bobcats gained valuable experience to take into the 2008 season. Eleven new players join the roster this season, including ten freshman and one transfer. "We have a great group of new players and will look for many of them to push for time and become impact players within our program immediately," stated Lopez.
"Although our incoming student-athletes are from all over the country, (MD, IL, FL, MA, TN, NC), the team chemistry has already shown to be successful in our first few days of preseason," continued Lopez.
A pair of juniors and one senior will be looked upon to continue to develop that team chemistry on and off the field as Maribeth Novak (Homer Glen, IL) and Lauren McLelland (Salisbury, NC) join Christine Calvert (Dallas, TX) in her final season of collegiate soccer as tri-captains of the Lady Bobcats this season. Novak missed the first five games of last season rehabbing an injury yet still managed to return for the final 15 games of the season and lead the team in scoring for the second straight season with 11 points after a 16 point campaign as a freshman. Both McLelland and Calvert play aggressively in the midfield and contribute with and without the ball, with each providing solid leadership on and off the field.
In goal, sophomores Brittany Bolton (Roanoke, VA) and Marissa Middleton (Olathe, KS) each saw time last season, with Bolton recording three wins and Middleton a pair. The duo will battle for the starting job in preseason as the Lady Bobcats look to move up in the Conference Carolinas standings with experience and depth all over the field as the team looks to return to the conference championships after falling just short one season ago.
"We are excited to have 12 home games this fall, as the altitude definitely helps with home field advantage," continued Lopez. "However, we have a challenging schedule and our team wants to be playing for the Conference Carolinas Tournament this year. I have confidence in these ladies that they will continue striving to reach our team goals throughout the season."
The Lady Bobcats will open the 2008 season on the road for a pair of games, traveling to Tigerville, SC August 30 to battle North Greenville before heading north to take on Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA September 2. The Lady Bobcats will open their home schedule September 8 hosting Brevard at 7:00pm on Tate Field.
PICTURED TOP LEFT: Senior Captain Christine Calvert
PICTURED BELOW: Junior Captains Maribeth Novak, (left), and Lauren McLelland (right)