Bobcats Claw Patriots in Season Opener

Florence, SC--Entering the season with their top four scorers from a year ago, the Lees-McRae Bobcats soccer team has high expectations for the 2007 season. Third year Head Coach Chris Whalley's squad wasted little time establishing themselves, opening up with an 8-0 win at Francis Marion University Friday afternoon in the season opener for both teams.

Redshirt junior Matt Lacey (Norwich, England) got the visitors on the board first, striking from 12 yards to give the Bobcats the 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. Junior Berin Boracic (Orlando, FL) extended the Bobcats lead to two after corralling a loose ball in the box and drilling a shot past Patriots keeper Jeremy Crooks from 11 yards in the 41st minute. The Bobcats maintained the two goal cushion as the teams headed in for halftime.

The second half started where the first left off, with the Bobcats scoring. The visitors took a stranglehold of the game with three goals in the opening 8:36 to push their lead to five as Lee Squires (Sheffield, England) and Gary Challinor (Worksop, England) registered their first collegiate goals while Boracic, (pictured top left), buried his second of the afternoon. Finishing strong, the Bobcats added another hat trick in the last sixteen minutes as Bobby Layburn (Centennial, CO) and Sam Sharples (London, England) also picked up their first collegiate tallies. Junior Kyle McGimsey (Plant City, FL) closed out the scoring in the 83rd minute, giving the Bobcats their highest single game goal total under Coach Whalley. The previous record was a 6-1 win in last year's season finale at Barton, (October 21st).

"This is a fantastic way to start the season, but it's one game, and no different than winning 1-0," commented Whalley. "We've still got to take care of business on Sunday at UNC-Pembroke to have a successful weekend. It's one and done; now we've got to focus on the next game."

"All the boys have been working hard through preseason. I was pleased to see Squires, Challinor, Sharples and Layburn rewarded with their first college goals."

Francis Marion led the Bobcats in corner kicks 7-6, however, the Bobcats outshot the home side 21-5. Of the five shots the Patriots registered, not one was credited as a shot on goal at Bobcats keeper Sean Paradise (North Point, FL). With the score 1-0, Paradise turned away the Patriot's best scoring opportunity in the 39th minute when he knocked the ball away from FMU forward Joey Pineo who had slipped behind the defense and was ready to fire from 13 yards. Crooks picked up six saves in a losing cause for the Patriots.

FMU will host Conference Carolinas member Belmont Abbey College Sunday at 2:00pm.

The Bobcats will continue their opening weekend road trip as they travel to Pembroke, NC to take on UNC-Pembroke Sunday afternoon. Kick off is set for 5:00pm.