Banner Elk, NC--The Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcats soccer team went through a difficult 2005 season finishing with a 3-11-2 record in Head Coach Renee Lopez' first year at the helm of the program. Seven of those eleven losses were by one goal.
"Last year was a little trying. We worked hard game in and game out, however we struggled putting the ball in the back of the net. Defensively we were pretty sound with Ani in goal, (senior goalie Anita Hekman; 1st Team All-CVAC, 3rd Team All-Region in '05), and some good defenders in front of her. I think we've addressed our goal scoring woes with the Class of 2010," commented Lopez.
Freshman Maribeth Novak, Miranda Franks, Charity Austin, Aerial Gregston and Abby White will all compete for time in the midfield and up front for the Lady Bobcats. The addition of these five players should help sophomores Jenna Simpson, Christine Calvert and Caroline Handy shoulder some of the goal scoring load this year. Red shirt senior Heather Klaus also returns to the front line to add some skill and leadership. Sophomore Megan Shaw moves to the backfield and will compliment senior captain Kat Smith, recently named to the CVAC's Preseason Player to Watch List. "Megan's ball control skills make her a natural fit for our backline. She's a leader on and off the field and will help us in starting our transition up field," added Lopez. Julia Campbell will also be counted on for her steady play in the backfield while sophomore Colleen Paxton, who played on the Lady Bobcats lacrosse team as a freshman, will play her first season of collegiate soccer this year, also playing in the backfield as she does in lacrosse. Paxton will return to the lacrosse team in the spring. "Each of those girls are very calm back there and should provide some stability in front of Anita," said Lopez.
In preseason, the Lady Bobcats played scrimmages against Montreat College as well as Division I South Carolina State University. "Our scrimmages went extremely well. The girls are sharing the ball, getting each other into the game, and working really well together as a unit," according to Lopez.
In goal, freshman Cameron Joyce and Molly Grantham will have the luxury of learning the ropes from senior captain Hekman. A two-sport athlete at Lees-McRae, also playing lacrosse, Hekman's leadership and experience will help this young group mature as she closes her collegiate career. Hekman was also named as a Preseason Player to Watch.
On the sidelines, the Lady Bobcats also welcome a new face in Assistant Coach Dan Mowry. After serving as a Graduate Assistant at St. Cloud State, Mowry brings his expertise to Banner Elk to help Lopez re-energize the Lady Bobcats program. No stranger to women's Division II soccer, Mowry led the University of Minnesota, Morris women's team that ranked number one in scoring offence for NCAA Division II, went undefeated in conference play and won their conference title. Mowry played his collegiate soccer at Ferrum College and is a welcome addition to Lopez' staff. "We are very excited to have Coach Mowry join our coaching staff," said Coach Lopez. "His experience in training goalkeepers, developing offensive sets and working at the Division II level made him an ideal candidate. After interviewing him, I knew he would help take our program to the next level."
The Lady Bobcats will begin the 2006 season at home on Tate Field August 24, 2006 against Brevard College. Kick-off is set for 7:00p.m.
Lees-McRae Sports Information Office - Jason Levesque; Sports Information Director