GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Lees-McRae College Bobcats (17-3-3) men's soccer team fell to the nationally fifth ranked Tusculum College Pioneers (20-2-1) 2-0 Sunday in the final round of the NCAA Regional Tournament at Pioneer Field Sunday afternoon.
The loss ends the Bobcats' season and run in the NCAA
Tournament. During the year the team won the Conference Carolinas
regular season title and the tournament championship. Lees-McRae
College is the only school in conference history to have won both
the regular season and the tournament the same year and have now
done that in two consecutive seasons.
The Pioneers scored twice in the first 27 minutes of the match to open a 2-0 lead at half time. Phillip Hagen gave Tusculum the early 1-0 advantage with his third goal of the season in the 15th minute, knocking in a loose ball in the box off a free kick. Lucas Paulini widened the lead to 2-0 midway through the 27th minute with his second goal of the campaign, blasting in a cross from Hagen off a Scott Lucky corner kick.
Lees-McRae made a late charge in the final 20 minutes of the match with three of its nine shots, as the Bobcats held a 9-7 edge in attempts on goal in the contest.
"We made two mistakes in the game, and a great team like Tusculum is going to punish you. I thought we played very well, but they took advantage of their chances, and we missed ours. I am very proud of this team. They won all the games they needed to win, and we won the conference back-to-back, so you cannot ask for more than that," said Lees-McRae head coach Chris Whalley.
Tusculum now advances to the Elite Eight to take on the University of Tampa (17-3-1) next weekend at a date and venue to be determined.
Bruno Conceicão, Tusculum
Lee Squires, Lees-McRae
Anteneh Lemma, Tusculum
Lee Smyth, Limestone
Luke Staats, Lees-McRae
David Palmer, Lees-McRae
Julian Ramjohn, Francis Marion
Lance Moore, Tusculum
Scott Lucky, Tusculum
Ignacio Falco, Lees-McRae
Lucas Paulini, Tusculum