With the announcement of this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America collegiate rankings, the Lees-McRae Bobcats men's soccer team again finds itself ranked nationally, earning the highest ranking in program history. After starting the season unranked, the Bobcats earned a #19 ranking one week ago and are currently ranked #11 in NCAA Division II.
The Bobcats 5-0-1 start has the team leading Conference Carolinas in nine separate categories including shots (90), points (77), goals for (29), goals per game (4.83), assists (19), goals allowed (lowest - five in six games), goals against average (0.80) and shutouts (3). Sophomore goalkeeper Sean Paradise (North Point, FL) has been between the pipes for all three shutouts, and even got in on the action offensively registering an assist on Berin Boracic' second goal in a 2-0 Conference Carolinas win over Erskine. Paradise's 0.91 goals against average is third best among Conference Carolinas keepers. Boracic, the conference leader in goals (9), goals per game (1.5), points (21) and points per game (3.5), recently claimed his second consecutive Conference Carolinas Player of the Week after scoring once in a 2-2 tie with #15 Clayton State and scoring both Bobcats goals in the win over Erskine.
Under third year Head Coach Chris Whalley, the Bobcats have enjoyed much success. Last season's nationally ranking of 13th was the previous program high before this week's ranking of 11th. The Bobcats are also ranked second in the southeast region behind Clayton State, who moved from #15 last week to #5 in the national poll this week.
"It may sound cliché, but it really doesn't matter right now," commented Whalley, (pictured top left). "We have no interest in rankings right now…we're interested in rankings come November, not September. Sure it's nice to say and hear right now, but it really means nothing at this point. We've got to keep our heads focused, continue to work hard, and be consistent."
The 11th ranked Bobcats certainly have their work cut out for
them as they play their next two games on the road. This Saturday
the Bobcats travel to Anderson University to do battle with the
Trojans before heading to Limestone College next Wednesday.
Limestone started the season ranked 20th in the nation and improved
to as high as 7th before falling out of the poll this week.