With high expectations and a tough schedule in 2006, the Lees-McRae College Bobcats soccer team got off on the right foot Friday evening in their season opener. Hosting Francis Marion University Patriots, the Bobcats cruised to a 4-1 victory in front of 250 fans at Tate Field.
The teams traded punches early in the contest, each getting quality scoring opportunities. Berin Boracic rifled a shot of the crossbar in the 22nd minute while Bobcats keeper Dylan Lawrence made a goal saving dive in the 35th minute to keep the game scoreless. Patriot's keep Nick Krywyj, played well for the visitors making some key saves early in the game as the game remained scoreless until the 38th minute. With the Bobcats moving up field in transition, team captains Diego Cordiero and Matt Lacey connected to put the home side up 1-0. Just past the center line, Cordiero served a great ball into the streaking Lacey who beat the challenging Krywyj for the goal. The goal was Lacey's first of his collegiate career; however he would not be satisfied with just one. In the 39th minute he connected with Nathan Wall at the top of the 18-yard box to beat a stunned Krywyj for a quick two goal lead. Wall, with his back to the goal, corralled a loose ball, fed Lacey with his heel who made no mistake for his second of the game, as well as his career. The quick lead halted the Patriots for a few minutes, however, they were able to rebound and finish the half strong but unable to beat Lawrence in the Bobcats goal.
To start the second half, the Bobcats pounced on mistakes made by the Patriots to go up 3-0 only three minutes into the half. James Worsnop broke up the Patriots transition up field at center and fed a streaking Boracic who proceeded to cut across the field. Using his speed, Boracic beat his man wide and buried a shot past Krywyj to the far corner in the game's 48th minute. Not to be out done by his teammate, Boracic again found the back of the goal a minute after his first as did Lacey earlier. Deep in the corner to the left of Krywyj, Boracic beat his man one on one with his speed, only to have a second defender challenge. Unfortunately for the Patriots, that second defender could only trail the speedy Boracic as he sent a bullet past Krywyj from just inside the 18-yard box. Boracic's quick tallies seemed to take the wind out of the Patriots' sails.
With the score 4-0, the Bobcats clicked into cruise control and dictated the tempo of the remainder of the game. The Bobcats continued to penetrate and pressure for more goals, the best opportunity coming off of the foot of Kyle McGimsey who fired a shot from 25 yards out the hooked left and struck the post behind the Patriots' Krywyj. Although the game was out of reach, the Patriot's battled to put a goal on the board and were finally able to solve Lawrence in the 69th minute as Kyle Clinton capitalized on a poor Bobcats clearing attempt and put home a shot from the top of the 18-yard box. The goal seemed to energize the visitors as they had two other quality chances, the first on a partial breakaway in the 71st minute before Johnny Bownes sped back and made an excellent slide tackle, and the second a header off of a corner kick in the 80th minute. Ricky Jackson covered the far post for Lawrence and headed the ball out of harm's way to keep the score at 4-1 in favor of the hosts.
After the game, Bobcats Head Coach said, "It's a great way to start the season. We're pleased to play well at home in front of a good size crowd tonight. Boracic and Lacey both took advantages of their opportunities tonight and Dylan looks really strong between the pipes for us. We've got to refocus our attention on UNCP however and go from there."
The Bobcats will continue their season Sunday when they host
UNC-Pembroke in a 2:00p.m. matinee.