GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Lees-McRae College's Lee Squires scored two goals on Friday evening to lead the No. 13 Bobcats into the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Final, as Lees-McRae came from behind to defeat third-seeded Limestone College 2-1 at Pioneer Field. The second-seeded Bobcats advance with a 17-2-3 overall record, while the Saints end their season at 16-3-2.
Limestone took an early 1-0 advantage midway through the 14th minute when Lee Smyth made a run into the middle from the right flank, and curled a shot into the far corner for his sixth goal of the season. Squires (Sheffield, England) answered with the equalizer later in the first half, heading in his 24th goal of the season off a cross from Luke Staats (Almere, Holland) in the closing seconds of the 34th minute.
With the match still even at 1-1 at the start of the 52nd minute, Squires took a short pass from Nick Robinson (Melbourne, Australia) at the top of the 18-yard box, and delivered a slicing strike inside the far post for his NCAA II-leading 25th goal of the season to put Lees-McRae up 2-1. The goal proved to be Squire's eighth match-winner of the campaign.
"It was a great game, both teams had some great opportunities. The team that we have this year is one of those special teams that has the drive and the desire that makes our job as coaches so easy," said Limestone coach Eric Alstop after the match.
Squires led the way for the Bobcats with two goals on two shots, while Jamie Price (Wales) and David Palmer (Gateshead, England) each took a team-high three shots. Smyth took a match-high four attempts on goal for Limestone. Dylan Lawrence (Lawsonville, N.C.) played the final 67 minutes in goal for the Bobcats, making four saves. Mark Davidson stopped four shots for the Saints.
"Despite not starting well, I thought the better team won tonight. We scored two well-executed goals, good team goals, that fueled our strong play in the second half," said Lees-McRae coach Chris Whalley after the win. "We are excited about returning to the sweet sixteen and are looking forward to playing a very good team on Sunday whether it be Francis Marion or Tusculum."
The Bobcats now await the winner of the second semifinal match between top-seeded Tusculum College and fourth-seeded Francis Marion University at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Field.
Pictured: Lee Squires