SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- Freshman Erin Barcal (Wilmington, N.C.) opened her collegiate account with a goal and an assist to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 3-0 win over Converse College in Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday evening.
With the victory, Lees-McRae (5-6, 4-1 CC) extends its winning streak to four matches while keeping pace with league-leading Belmont Abbey College's conference mark of 4-0-1. The Bobcats controlled the run of play for much of the match, jumping out to an early two-goal lead in the first half while outshooting Converse (7-5, 2-2 CC) by a 12-8 margin in the contest. Lees-McRae also held an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks in a match which featured just five fouls.
Barcal paced the Bobcats with her first collegiate goal, netting the first-half match-winner while adding an assist later in the contest. Reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Week Sarah Mahar (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Erica Allen (Norton, Ohio) each tallied a goal of their own, as Kaitlyn Kerrigan (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) and Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) both chipped in an assist.
Darby Boyd led the way for Converse with two shots, both on frame, as Olivia Grose added two attempts of her own. Gabie Chamberland, Christen Evans, and Aubrey Andersen-Baker combined for three saves between the pipes for the Valkyries.
The Bobcats got off to a flying start at the death of the 15th minute, when Barcal nodded home free header off a corner from Kerrigan for her first career goal.
Converse quickly countered with a burst of pressure, forcing a pair of saves by Briggs within a 15-second span midway through the 20th minute. Mahar answered with the Bobcats' second in the 29th, redirecting a cross from Thornton into the back of the net for her fifth of the campaign to give Lees-McRae a 2-0 advantage heading into the interval.
Allen and the Bobcats then hit the ground running in the second half, pushing the margin to 3-0 just 35 seconds into the period when Allen delivered the first-time finish past the keeper after Barcal's initial effort struck the woodwork and fell straight to Allen.
Joy Keith and Grose would combine for a trio of late chances for the Valkyries, as Keith forced a skillful stop by Briggs in the 68th minute before Grose sent a pair of efforts inches wide of the woodwork in the final moments.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Bristol, Tenn. to take on King University in league play at 1 p.m. as King hosts Kick for the Cure.
- LMC -