September 12, 2012

Bobcats ground Valkyries, 5-0, in league opener

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Freshman Mallory Overholt (Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada) scored her second career goal, and MaryBeth Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.) added a goal and an assist to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 5-0 win over Converse College to open its Conference Carolinas schedule on Wednesday night on Tate Field.

Lees-McRae (2-2-1, 1-0 CC) dictated proceedings for much of the match, controlling possession in midfield and outshooting Converse (1-4-1, 0-1-1 CC) by a 33-2 margin in the match. The Bobcats took at least 16 attempts at goal in each half, holding a 12-0 advantage in corner kicks, as Alicia Pierson (Brooksville, Fla.) and Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) combined to keep a clean sheet.

Sullivan paced the Bobcats with a goal and an assist, as Emily Jones (Leonardtown, Md.), Sarah Mahar (Jacksonville, Fla.), Sam Arendt (Franklinton, N.C.), and Overholt each found the back of the net on the night. Kaitlyn Kerrigan (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) led the way for Lees-McRae with two assists, while Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.), Erica Allen (Norton, Ohio), and Molly Ames (Greensboro, N.C.) all tallied a helper.

Gabriella Chamberland posted seven saves for the Valkyries, as Chamberland combined with Rebeccah Stansberry and Meghan Williams for the full 90 minutes between the pipes.

The Bobcats got on the board early, notching the breakthrough in the third minute on Mahar's second goal of the season. Mahar made the most of a well-played ball from Thornton on the flank, turning and lofting a perfectly struck finish inside the far post to give the Bobcats an early 1-0 advantage. Jones doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the early moments of the ninth minute, nodding home a corner from Kerrigan for her first goal of the season.

Lees-McRae carried the 2-0 advantage into the interval and the second half, pushing the margin to three goals midway through the 48th minute on Overholt's second strike of the season following a highlight reel buildup. After Kerrigan settled the ball in midfield and fed it in to Sullivan, the junior midfielder delivered a crafty touch through ball into Overholt, putting the freshman in perfect position to slot the finish into the bottom corner.

Arendt followed 22 minutes later, notching her first goal of the season when the sophomore tapped in a feed from Allen off a loose ball in the area to give the Bobcats a 4-0 advantage in the 70th minute. Sullivan capped the scoring four minutes later, redirecting an Ames corner over her shoulder and into the back of the net with a deft header to push the margin to 5-0.

"I'm very happy with our performance against a well-coached Converse side," praised Bobcat head coach Nick Whiting. "We had some players step up today in some unfamiliar roles, and they really showed well for themselves. It was definitely a total team effort tonight."

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Tigerville, S.C. to take on North Greenville University in conference play at 1 p.m.

- LMC -