Bobcats rally past Saints in extra time, 2-1

Box score

GAFFNEY, S.C. --- Freshman Ryan Gillespie (Holly Springs, N.C.) scored his first collegiate goal midway through the 102nd minute to lead the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Limestone College in Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday afternoon.

With the win, Lees-McRae 12-4-1, 9-2 CC) clinches at least the second overall seed in next week's conference tournament, while guaranteeing the Bobcats a home match in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Limestone (10-6, 6-4 CC) outshot the Bobcats by a 23-12 margin, including an 18-11 advantage in regulation time, as Lees-McRae took seven corners to the Saints' four.

Scott Alford (Hillsborough, N.C.) and Gillespie each found the back of the net for the Bobcats, while Preston Shahdad (Charlotte, N.C.) and Luke Staats (Almere, Netherlands) both tallied an assist in the match. Sophomore Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) played the full duration of the match between the pipes for the Bobcats, making eight saves.

Thomas Keen tallied the lone goal for Limestone, as Jack Bailey and Jorge MacKenna made six and four attempts, respectively, on frame. Kyle Karagitz manned the goal mouth for the full duration, making four saves for the Saints.

The match remained scoreless until midway through the 77th minute, when Keen found the back of the net with a diving header off a loose ball in the box to give Limestone a 1-0 lead. Lees-McRae netted the equalizer in the final minute of regulation for the second time this season, as Alford nodded home a long cross from Shahdad at the 89:29 mark to send the match into extra time level at 1-1.

Limestone controlled the run of play throughout the first extra time period, outshooting the Bobcats by a 5-0 margin in the first 10 minutes of overtime. Neither team would find the winner in that span, however, sending the match into the second extra time period. Gillespie then delivered the decisive strike midway through the 102nd minute, scoring his first collegiate goal off a cross from Staats to give the Bobcats a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Milligan College, Tenn. to take on Milligan College in their regular season finale at 2:30 p.m.

- LMC -