Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The No. 17 Lees-McRae College men's soccer team will look to keep its undefeated 3-0-1 record intact this week as it takes on King (Tenn.) Wednesday and Mount Olive Saturday in a pair of Conference Carolinas road matches. Start times for the two contests are slated for 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
Last Time Out – The Bobcats scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of its match Saturday against Barton at Tate Field on its way to a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs. Seven different Bobcats registered at least one point in the win and five of the seven posted two or more points.
Nationally and Regionally Recognized – Lees-McRae was recognized Monday by the United Soccer Coaches' Poll as it was ranked No. 17 in the nation and third in the NCAA's Southeast Region. The Bobcats were the only Conference Carolinas team ranked in the top 25 poll, and they were only behind Lenoir-Rhyne and Lincoln Memorial in the regional poll.
Coach's Take – "Ultimately it's always nice to be recognized among the Top-25," said LMC Head Coach Rich Wall about his team being ranked in the national poll. "However, this means it only will get more difficult from here. There is now a target on our backs, and we have to be ready to face everyone's best the rest of the way. With that said, we are happy. The program has been missing from the rankings for too long. The work isn't done. We are only two weeks in, and have a lot of matches to be played. The challenge is finding a way to get the next result and staying focused on one opponent at a time."
Tom Tearing It Up – Senior Tom Deeley has not only been the top offensive threat in the Conference Carolinas so far this season but he has also been one of the most productive players in the nation. Deeley paces all Conference Carolinas players with 13 points and five goals. On a national level, Deeley is tied for fourth in both goals and points.
Scouting the Opponents – King comes into Wednesday's match with a 2-2-0 record overall and a 0-1 mark in conference play. The Tornado have defeated Concord and Mars Hill so far this season but have lost to Lincoln Memorial and Erskine. Individually, King is led by Carlos Saavedra who is second in the league with nine points (4g, 1a).
Mount Olive, meanwhile, is undefeated so far in 2017 just like Lees-McRae. The Trojans, who are 3-0-0, have outscored their three opponents by a combined margin of 7-2. Sebastian Loibl has accounted for the bulk of the scoring for UMO so far as he has eight points (3g, 2a) to his credit.
Series Histories vs. Opponents – The Bobcats and Tornado have met a total 23 times since the series began in 1991. The records are split right down the middle at 11-11-1. Lees-McRae, however, has gotten the better of King lately as it has won four straight in the series dating back to 2013.
Unlike the series against the Tornado, the Bobcats have held a decisive edge against Mount Olive since the first meeting in 1986. Overall, LMC is 19-5-2 against the Trojans and it has won the last four meetings.