Thornton treble lifts Bobcats over Royals, 4-2

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Freshman Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) tallied her second career hat trick on Saturday evening to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 4-2 win over Queens University of Charlotte in Conference Carolinas play at Tate Field.

Lees-McRae (8-2-1, 7-0 CC) outshot Queens (4-7-1, 4-2-1 CC) by a 25-12 margin, including a 9-3 advantage in the first half, as the Bobcats also posted a 12-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Thornton paced the Bobcats with three goals to run her season tally to a team-high nine strikes, as Brooke Santerre (Port Republic, Md.) added a goal for the Bobcats. Jessica O'Leary (Millbury, Mass.), Emily Jones (Leonardtown, Md.), and Ally Titsworth (Holmes Beach, Fla.) each tallied an assist for the Bobcats, as freshman Kaitlyn Briggs posted six saves between the pipes.

Kristen Wright and Hope Hartman tallied the goals for Queens, while Sami Striano and Amanda Wright each added an assist. Kelsey Seretis posted five saves through the first 73 minutes of play, as Megan Hirschy added two stops while playing the final 18 minutes.

The Royals scored the breakthrough midway through the fourth minute, as Striano's driven shot from distance struck the bar and fell right to Hartman at the goal mouth for the easy finish. Queens held the one-goal lead until the 35th minute, when O'Leary switched it to Thornton on the left side of the area, putting the freshman in perfect position to smash the finish over the keeper's head to level proceedings at 1-1.

Thornton struck again in the 42nd minute, taking a cross from Titsworth and slotting the finish into the bottom corner to send the Bobcats into the interval with a 2-1 lead. Santerre doubled the advantage to 3-1 in the 72nd minute, curling a free kick past the keeper from 20 yards distance for her sixth goal of the season.

Thornton then completed the treble in smashing fashion early in the 83rd minute, timing her run onto a long ball from Jones to perfection before curling the finish past the keeper to give the Bobcats a commanding 4-1 lead. Kristen Wright added the final goal of the night midway through the 87th minute, heading a lead pass from Amanda Wright into the bottom corner to equal the final margin of 4-2.

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats host Belmont Abbey College in a pivotal conference matchup at 7 p.m. on Tate Field.

- LMC -