DUE WEST, S.C. --- The Erskine College men's soccer team snatched an early breakthrough and held off a furious rally by Lees-McRae College on Thursday evening, holding on for a narrow 1-0 victory in Conference Carolinas play.
Erskine (5-3-2, 4-1-1 CC) survived a furious onslaught by the Lees-McRae (3-8, 2-3 CC) attacking corps, as the Bobcats outshot the Fleet by a 21-10 margin, including a 12-3 advantage in the second half. The Bobcats also held a 9-2 advantage on corner kicks, as Roberto De La Vina made nine saves to keep a clean sheet for the Fleet.
James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) and Andrew Shoemaker (Cary, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with six and five attempts at goal, respectively, as James Smith (Eastbourne, England) launched four shots on frame. Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) tallied five stops for the Bobcats.
Henderson notched the lone goal of the match for the Fleet, as Andrew Settlemire recorded four of Erskine's 10 shots.
Erskine got off to a flying start in the sixth minute, when Henderson capitalized on a loose ball off a corner kick, sending a driven strike into the far side netting from just outside the area to give the Fleet an early 1-0 advantage. Lees-McRae responded with a concerted counter attack, peppering the Fleet keeper with five shots before the interval, including a fantastic headed effort by Galvani at the death of the 40th minute.
The Bobcats continued to press the attack in the second half, outshooting the Fleet by a 12-3 margin over the final 45 minutes in search of the equalizer. Lees-McRae tested De La Vina early and often in the second half, forcing the Erskine keeper to make five skillful saves to preserve the narrow one-goal margin.
After De La Vina parried a pair of superb efforts from Preston Shahdad (Charlotte, N.C.) and Smith with less than half an hour left on the clock, Galvani nearly drew the Bobcats level in the 81st minute when his headed effort was pulled off the line by a Fleet defender. Shoemaker and Galvani would each make an impassioned equalizing bid in the closing minutes, as Galvani's 88th minute header sailed just wide of the woodwork.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats celebrate Homecoming Weekend with a league matchup against Pfeiffer University on Tate Field at 3 p.m.
- LMC -