Women’s Soccer picked eighth in the Conference Carolinas Preseason Poll

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Lees-McRae College women’s soccer team was picked to finish eighth in the Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches’ Poll the league office announced Friday, Aug. 16. The trio of Autumn Esposito, Kiara Montenegro and Pali Smith were picked as players to watch for the Bobcats in 2019.

Limestone was picked to win the conference after collecting 117 points and eight of 12 first-place votes. The Saints, who have won the last four conference crowns, were followed in the top five by Belmont Abbey (112 points), North Greenville (91 points), Chowan (80 points) and Emmanuel (75 points).

The next five programs in the poll were separated by a total of just 17 points. Barton (67 points) came in sixth followed by Mount Olive (58 points), Lees-McRae (54 points), Erskine (51 points) and Southern Wesleyan (50 points). Finally, closing out the preseason prognostication were Converse (24 points) and King (13 points).

Esposito is one of just three seniors on this season’s women’s soccer team. Esposito was limited to just seven games a season ago but scored six points (2g, 2a) in those contests. For her career, Esposito has notched 10 points (4g, 2a) in 45 matches.

Like Esposito, Montenegro was limited in her games played last season due to injury. The Orlando, Fla., native will look to bounce back this fall and recapture her 2017 form where she netted five goals (three game-winning) on her way to being named to the All-Conference Carolinas Third Team.

Finally, Smith made an immediate impact for the Bobcats during her first season with the program. The Fairview native finished her freshman campaign tied for the team-lead in goals (two) and points scored (six).

Lees-McRae will begin its 2019 regular season on September 5 when it visits Lenoir-Rhyne in a non-conference matchup.

Ross hired as assistant softball coach

BANNER ELK — Rachel Ross was named the new assistant coach for the Lees-McRae College softball program Friday, Aug. 17. Ross comes to Lees-McRae after serving as the assistant coach for Greensboro College this past season.

“I feel very fortunate and excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Lees-McRae Softball coaching staff,” said Ross. “I am ready to get to work with Coach Poole and the girls to make this a successful season. I want to thank everyone in the athletic department for welcoming me in with open arms. I look forward to this season and others to come.”

At her position in Greensboro College, Ross helped with recruiting, fundraising, practice planning, game day management, field maintenance and camp coordination. Prior to coming to Greensboro, Ross also coached at Cerro Coso Community College and Talladega College.

“Adding Rachel to our staff was a no-brainer,” said LMC Head Coach Jaclin Poole. “She demonstrates a strong softball IQ, but more importantly her energy and passion is unmatched. I look forward to working with her to build upon the successes we have seen in the past few years!”

The Bobcats are coming off their most successful season in program history in capturing the Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship to go along with their first NCAA Tournament appearance and victory.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” said LMC Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail. “We made personnel moves to give our softball program an assistant coach. Rachel’s experience will be beneficial for our pitchers and catchers. She has a wonderful work ethic to help us build off of last year’s success.”

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