BANNER ELK, N.C. -- The Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcats women's soccer team is coming off a fifth place finish and a trip to the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals in 2009.
First year head coach, Cally Morrill, returns All-American Vickie Rich, Second Team All-Conference Carolinas defender Mary Dorn and Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team selection Brittany Bolton from the 2009 team.
Morrill joined Lees-McRae in December after a three-year stint as the first assistant coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Morrill helped guide the program to a 14-7-3 record in 2009 and a trip to the South Atlantic Conference title game.
"With our core group of returning players and the new talent coming in with our incoming class, our fans will have a lot to look forward to this fall season," Morrill said. "We've had a couple of really nice surprises in regards to players stepping up on the field. We are a young group, but an experienced one and I believe that some freshmen will step up in key areas and earn some key minutes. We have three great leaders on our hands in our captains( Dorn, Bolton and Brooke Santerre), who are all different and bring their own leadership style to our program."
Rich led the team in 2009 with 15 goals and seven assists for a total of 37 points. She was also named First Team All-Conference Carolinas and First Team All-Southeast Region.
Along with Rich, the Lady Bobcats return Mary Bowers, Erica Mason, Jessica O'Leary, Caitlin Smith, and Abby White up top.
The Lees-McRae midfield will have returners Lauren Griffin, Emily Jones and Brooke Santerre anchoring the 2010 squad. Jones played in 18 of the team's 19 games last season, while Griffin played in 14 games before suffering a season ending knee injury. Santerre will return to the midfield after spending the 2009 season at a center back spot.
Dorn, a Second Team All-Conference defender, returns as one of the center backs for Morrill's defense. Returners and key 2009 contributors on the back line, Mary Gibson, Aleeshia Fisher and Jessica Cardenas, will provide Morrill with depth and experience in 2010.
Bolton, a Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team selection, returns in goal for the Lady Bobcats. She is coming off a career season where she played every minute between the pipes in 2009. She had a 1.27 goals against average and a .784 save percentage.
Morrill brought in three transfers to add to the team's depth: LeeAnn Sullivan at defense, twin MaryBeth Sullivan at midfield and Sarah Sims at the midfield and forward positions. LeeAnn Sullivan transferred from Meredith College, MaryBeth Sullivan left UNC-Charlotte and Sims came via Campbell University.
Morrill added six freshman: Alicia Pierson in goal, Stacy Swezey at defense, Kaitlyn Kerrigan at midfield, Katelyn Custer at midfield, Katy McGee at defense and Rachel Wojcicki at defense.
Also new to the Lady Bobcat's staff in 2010 is assistant coach Nick Whiting, who was an assistant coach the past two seasons at Western Carolina University and Catawba College, respectively.
The Lady Bobcats, who were picked to finish seventh in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll, will kick their season off with the first game of the 2010 season for Lees-McRae on September 2nd in a home match against North Georgia College and State University at 4 p.m. at Tate Field.