Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's soccer team will hope the third time is the charm Friday when it competes in the Conference Carolinas semifinals for the third straight season. LMC, which is the No. 2 seed in the tournament, will take on sixth-seeded Mount Olive at 7 p.m. Friday from Gaffney, South Carolina.
Last Time Out: Lees-McRae downed seventh-seeded Erskine College 5-1 Tuesday night at Tate Field to earn its spot in the semifinals. The win boosted LMC's record to 11-4-3 this season, which its most wins in a season since 2015 when it also had 11 victories.
Scoring Surge: LMC has been very explosive offensively as of late on its way to a 4-0-0 record. In the team's last four matches, the Bobcats have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 26-2.
Defensive Turnaround: Even with the high-powered offensive numbers this season, a major reason why the Bobcats have turned things around from a 5-14-0 season in 2016 has been their work defensively. In 2016, LMC allowed 59 goals in 19 games compared to just 24 goals allowed in 18 matches this season.
First Round Rewind: As mentioned earlier, the Bobcats picked up a 5-1 win over Erskine in the quarterfinals Tuesday night. Their semifinal opponent, Mount Olive, upset third-seeded Belmont Abbey by a score of 4-3. In the other two quarterfinal matchups, Limestone blanked North Greenville 1-0 and Chowan shutout Southern Wesleyan 3-0.
About Mount Olive: Despite being the six seed in the conference tournament, Mount Olive has played well as of late with a record of 2-0-1 in its past three matches. Both victories came against teams that finished in the top four in the conference in Belmont Abbey on Tuesday and Chowan on October 24. The Trojans are led by the conference's leading goal scorer Sebastian Loibl who has 14 goals on the season. Loibl also has eight assists to his credit in 2017.
Series History vs. Opponent: The Bobcats have held the decisive edge on the Trojans over the years with an all-time record of 20-5-2. LMC shutout the Trojans 1-0 earlier this season in Mount Olive. Additionally, the Bobcats have done very well in keeping UMO off the scoreboard. Lees-McRae has shutout the Trojans the past five times the two teams have matched up. UMO last scored a goal versus the Bobcats in 2012.