BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Seniors Vickie Rich (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Brooke Santerre (Port Republic, Md.) each tallied a goal to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 4-0 win over Erskine College on Wednesday night, as the Bobcats clinched at least a share of their first Conference Carolinas regular season championship since the 2000 season.
Lees-McRae (11-2-1, 10-0 CC) honored its 2011 senior class prior to kickoff, recognizing Rich, Santerre, Mary Gibson (Hendersonville, Tenn.), Mary Dorn (Shallotte, N.C.), and Jessica O'Leary (Millbury, Mass.) for their contributions to the women's soccer program. The Bobcats tied a program-record with their 10th conference win of the season, while securing the top seed in the conference tournament for the first time in school history.
The Bobcats outshot Erskine (6-7, 5-5 CC) by a 25-3 margin, including a 13-1 advantage in the first half, while keeping their 10th clean sheet of the season. Lees-McRae also held a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks on the night.
Rich, Santerre, Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.), and Ally Titsworth (Holmes Beach, Fla.) each found the back of the net for the Bobcats, while Gibson, Thornton, Kaitlyn Kerrigan (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.), and LeeAnn Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.) each tallied an assist. Freshman Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) made two saves through the first 79 minutes, while Alicia Pierson (Brooksville, Fla.) kept the Flying Fleet scoreless for the final 12 minutes of play.
Rich opened the scoring in the 25th minute, breaking the deadlock off an assist from Thornton with her fifth goal of the season, sending the Bobcats into the interval with a 1-0 lead. Santerre doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the 55th minute, taking a cross from Gibson and looping the finish over the keeper's head and into the side netting from 20 yards distance.
Thornton pushed the lead to 3-0 midway through the 64th minute, tying the team-lead with her 10th goal of the season after Kerrigan and Sullivan combined for a terrific lead pass into the box, putting Thornton in perfect position to finish from six yards out. Titsworth capped the scoring in the 83rd minute, beating the final defender and sending a fantastic finish into the far side netting for her first collegiate goal.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Hartsville, S.C. to take on Coker College in a conference matchup at 4:30 p.m. The Bobcats can clinch the outright conference title with a victory over the Cobras.
- LMC -