The Lees-McRae College Bobcats soccer team, ranked 13th in the NSCAA/Adidas National Poll hosted the fourth ranked Lander University Bearcats on a rain soaked Tate Field in non-conference action. The losing result of 5-1 was certainly not indicative of the Bobcats efforts in front of 200 fans Thursday night.
Both teams created quality scoring chances right from the first whistle, however goalkeepers Dylan Lawrence for the Bobcats and, Garrett Daum for the visitors turned in quality efforts between the pipes for their respective teams. Zach Ducey put the visitors on the board first when a mad scramble ensued for 10 seconds in front of Lawrence. Neither team could get a good foot on the ball, as deflection after deflection, the ball finally wound up in front of Ducey who made no mistake during the game's 21st minute. The Bearcats would take the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Again the Bobcats pressured and created some great opportunities early in the second half, however, Daum was again up to the challenge as he finished the evening with 8 saves. Adam Arthur scored during the 56th minute to give the Bearcats the 2-0 lead when a miscommunication between a pair of Bobcat defenders, allowed Arthur the open goal to score. Even down two, the Bobcats continued to find a way to create quality scoring chances, however were unable to find the back of the net. Lawrence made an initial save on Nick Cooke's blast from the left side of the box, however, the ball slipped through the hands of the goalkeeper, just barely trickling across the goal line in the 83rd minute. With plenty of fight still left, the Bobcats' Matt Lacey cut the deficit to two with a strike of his off a free kick from the top of the 18 yard box in the 84th minute. With the Bobcats' pressing, a pair of free kicks awarded to the Bearcats allowed them to put the game out of reach, in the 88th and 90th minutes; the first deflecting off of the Bobcats wall, the second a floater deflecting off of the post.
"We played well in the first and for the majority of the second half," commented Head Coach Chris Whalley. "We had our opportunities; we just couldn't pull the trigger. We made some mistakes, and you just can't afford the mistakes we made against Lander. They are the top team in our region and number four in the country for a reason, they'll capitalize every time. I think the boys realize that they are certainly not out of place against the top teams in the country. Hopefully we can learn from this, regroup, and continue to work hard and meet them later on in the year."
The Bobcats will return to action on Tate Field this Saturday, opening the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference Schedule against Anderson University.
Kick off is set for 7:30p.m.
Jason Levesque -- Lees-McRae College Sports Information