Banner Elk, NC--The Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcats soccer team hosted in state rival Brevard College Tornados Thursday night, winning its season opener by a score of 2-0. The season opening win was the second consecutive year the team has won its opening game, winning last year at Converse 1-0.
It seemed that both teams wanted to feel one another out in the first half as the game was slow and seemed more like a game of keep away than it did soccer. The teams remained scoreless after the first half, Lees-McRae finished with two shots on goal while holding the Tornados to none. Halftime seemed to spark both teams as they both came out flying with chances to gain the lead early in the half; however it was not until the 60th minute when Lady Bobcat freshman Maribeth Novak (Homer Glen, IL) put the home team up 1-0 with her first collegiate tally. Sophomore Jenna Simpson (Petrolia, ON) fed a pass to Novak at the top of the 18 yard box where she proceeded to put it past Tornados goalkeeper Rosie Butchart. However, Butchart was ready for Novak's shot and made the save, but the rebound came right back to the freshman forward and she made no mistake the second time.
Red shirt senior Heather Klaus (London, ON) came in on a substitution after the Lady Bobcats goal, and with the pressure on, attacked the Tornado goal, drawing her defender and feeding sophomore Christine Calvert (Dallas, TX) for the 2-0 lead three minutes after Novak's goal. With a comfortable two goal lead, the Lady Bobcats continued to pressure and controlled much of the remainder of the game, however Brevard's Butchart was equal to the task and kept the score 2-0 finishing with 8 saves. Lady Bobcats' senior goalie Anita Hekman, (North York, ON) finished with one save.
"It was definitely a slow first half for us, but once we got our legs underneath us we started to click. We moved the ball well in the second half and things started happening for us. We had a great crowd tonight and I think the ladies really noticed the support at the half. I am proud of the way they responded in the second," commented Head Coach Renee Lopez after the game.
Up next the Lady Bobcats will travel to Lenoir-Rhyne College next Tuesday for a 5:00p.m. non-conference match up.