TIGERVILLE, S.C. --- Sophomore James Smith (Eastbourne, England) recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Lees-McRae College men's soccer team to a 2-0 shutout of North Greenville University on Saturday afternoon to open its Conference Carolinas schedule.
Lees-McRae (2-4, 1-0 CC) outshot North Greenville (1-2-1, 0-1 CC) by a 17-11 margin, including a 10-2 advantage in the first half, while edging the Crusaders on corner kicks, 5-2. Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made four saves en route to his 11th career clean sheet, as Smith tallied a goal and assist on six attempts at goal. James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) added a goal of his own, notching his 22nd career strike in the Green and Gold.
Thales Wieczorek paced the Crusaders with two attempts at goal, as Justen Braddock made six saves while playing the full 90 minutes between the pipes.
The match remained scoreless until the early moments of the 33rd minute, when Brandon Starling (Fuquay-Varina, N.C.) kept good pressure on the Crusader defense, forcing a turnover and feeding Galvani via Smith for the finish and a 1-0 lead for the Bobcats.
Lees-McRae would carry the one-goal advantage into the second half, doubling the lead to 2-0 late in the 48th minute when Smith bent a free kick into the back of the net from just outside the area while North Greenville was still organizing its wall. Smith nearly stretched the advantage to 3-0 midway through the 81st minute, winning a penalty kick before being denied on the attempt by a tremendous diving save by the Crusader keeper.
"Today was a good all-around team performance," said Bobcat head coach Lee Squires. "More importantly, we are back to winning ways and made a good start to the conference season. We will look to improve again ahead of North Georgia on Wednesday."
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats host North Georgia College & State University in NCAA Division II Southeast Region play at 3 p.m. on Tate Field.
- LMC -