Photo courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College women's soccer team will look for its first Conference Carolinas win this week, traveling to North Greenville on Tuesday (Sept. 11) for a 5 p.m. kickoff and hosting Chowan on Saturday (Sept. 15) for a noon kickoff. Video and live stats for both matches will be available at www.lmcbobcats.com.
About the Bobcats - LMC (0-4-0, 0-1-0 CC) looks for their first win in Conference Carolinas play with two big matchups this week. Autum Esposito's two goals are tied for fifth in the conference, while Katie Jo Daniel also has one goal on the season. Lauren Paulsen's two assists are tied for the conference lead, while Esposito also has one assist to her credit. Esposito is also the team's point leader with five. Between the pipes, Alexis Feely leads the nation as well as the conference in saves with 43 and is also seventh in the league in save percentage with a mark of .754.
Last Time Out - LMC fell at No. 2 Carson-Newman 7-0 back on Wednesday (Sept. 5) and then dropped their conference opener at Southern Wesleyan back on Saturday (Sept. 8). The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute, but then scored three more times in the final 15 minutes of the first half for a 4-0 lead at the break. Carson-Newman would add three more tallies in the second half to get the victory. The Bobcats totaled six shots on net in the contest, with three of them coming off the foot of Kiara Montenegro. Montenegro had the lone shot on frame in the contest for LMC. Paulsen, Cassandra Gregg and Cassie McFayden also contributed shots in the match. Feely recorded her third straight game with double-digit saves, stopping 13 shots in the loss.
Southern Wesleyan got on the board early with a goal in the sixth minute, with Rachel Curtis scoring her second of the year on a breakaway to put the home team ahead. Curtis would set up Ashley Romanowski in the 23rd minute to put the Warriors up 2-0, and SWU would take the 2-0 lead to the half. Joy Namyst would score her second of the season in the 71st minute to pad SWU's lead to 3-0. The Bobcats would push back just minutes later, with Esposito scoring her first of the season in the 74th minute off a cross into the box by Paulsen. Down 3-1, the Bobcats would continue to press. It would pay off shortly after in the 77th minute, when Daniel found the back of the net to make it 3-2 off an assist from Esposito. As the match ticked down into its final 13 minutes, it was Esposito again through a crowd off another Paulsen assist to tie the match at three in the 87th minute and send the LMC bench into a frenzy. The two teams played a scoreless first overtime period, and went on to a second 10-minute frame. After a turnover in the midfield in the 102nd minute, SWU was able to push the pace and gain possession, setting up in the box. The ball found the foot of Romanowski, before Feely came out to challenge the shooter. Feely made one point-blank save and then another, before Romanowski was able to poke the third attempt past Feely for the 2OT winner. The Bobcats out-shot Southern Wesleyan 30-18 in the contest, registering 30 total shots for the first time since Oct. 31, 2014 when they logged 33 shots in a 4-0 win over Emmanuel (Ga.). LMC put 11 of those shots on net compared to nine for SWU. Daniel and Tegan Dean each took six shots in the match, while Esposito and Alexa Todd each registered four. Three other Bobcats recorded two shots each, while another four tallied one shot apiece. Lees-McRae also totaled 15 corner kicks compared to three for SWU. Feely made five saves between the pipes in the contest.
About the Opponents - North Greenville comes into Tuesday's match at 2-2-0 overall and 1-0-0 in Conference Carolinas. Kayla Cruze leads the Crusaders with two goals which are tied for fifth in the conference, while five others have each scored one goal on the season. Three different players have also contributed assists on the year for NGU. Cruze is also the team's point leader with four. Brianna Rowe has played all 369:68 between the pipes for NGU, allowing seven goals for a 1.71 goals against average (GAA) which is sixth in the league. Her 19 total saves are also the fourth-highest total in the conference.
Chowan comes into the week with a 0-2-0 overall mark and a 0-1-0 mark in the conference. The Hawks will take on Lincoln University (Pa.) on the road on Wednesday (Sept. 12) before making the trip to Banner Elk. Sabrina Henderson has the lone goal on the season for the Hawks, while Asia Ford has the lone assist. Olivia Borer has played every minute in the net for Chowan, owning a 2.50 GAA, 13 total saves and having allowed five goals on the season.
Series History vs. Opponents - This will be the 16th all-time meeting between NGU and LMC, with Lees-McRae leading the all-time series 11-4. The Bobcats came away with a 1-0 home win in last year's meeting.
This will be the fifth all-time meeting between LMC and Chowan, with LMC holding a 3-0 lead and the lone tie in the series coming in last year's meeting.