When the fall season came to a close six Lees-McRae College student-athletes were chosen to earn All-American honors for their efforts in the 2009 season.
The men’s soccer team finished up the season with an impressive 18-3-2 record, which culminated in a heartbreaking loss to Fort Lewis College during the 2009 NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer National Championship. Lees-McRae College was the first Conference Carolinas or Southeast Region member to advance to the national semifinals and finals.
Amidst the exhilaration surrounding that incredible game, four players were awarded All-American honors for their performance in the 2009 season: Berin Boracic, Dale Parker, Luke Duffy, and Sean Paradise.
Berin Boracic earned Second Team NSCAA All-American and Third Team Daktronics All-American. Boracic was also First Team All-Southeast Region Daktronics and NSCAA selection. The senior had fifteen goals and nine assists leading the Bobcats in all categories. Off the field Boracic is a sports management major from Orlando, Florida, and Sarajevo, Bosnia, where he grew up during the conflict in the 1990s.
Joining Boracic on the Third Team All-American Daktronics and All-Southeast Region First Team for the NSCAA were defenders Dale Parker and Luke Duffy. Both were stout leaders on the Bobcat back line this season.
Parker, a senior from Worksop, England, is a physical education major who is set to graduate in May 2010. After graduation he hopes to play soccer professionally and then give back to sports by teaching and coaching. Aside from this All-American honor, Parker, a team captain, is a two-time All-American, three-time 1st team All-Region, three-time 1st team All-Conference and two-time All-State. Parker is also a member of the men’s golf team.
Duffy, a sophomore from Wakefield, England, is a physical education major set to graduate in May 2011. Before receiving All-American honors this season, Duffy was a member of the Doncaster Rovers Youth team.
Possibly the biggest star of the season was goalkeeper Sean Paradise. The six foot, two hundred pound North Port, Florida, native has become an unstoppable force between the posts, especially during the NCAA Division II semifinals. Paradise, who had .73 goals against average this season, received Honorable Mention All-America from Daktronics and Second Team All-America from the NSCAA – his first time in four seasons earning All-American honors.
Paradise was also named All-Southeast Region First Team for the NSCAA. His other previous honors have included 1st Team All Conference and All Region. However, he is not all play. Paradise will graduate in May 2010 with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Rounding out the award winning soccer team was sophomore midfielder, David Palmer who earned Third Team All-Southeast Region.
The women’s soccer team finished up the season with a loss to top-seeded Belmont Abbey in the Conference Carolinas Tournament Semifinals, leaving them with a record of 11-8-1. After the loss, the team received uplifting news, sophomore outside midfielder Vickie Rich earned Third Team All-American from Daktronics. Rich paced the Lady Bobcats with fifteen goals and seven assists and was the first Lady Bobcat Women’s Soccer player to earn All-American honors since Lees-McRae joined the Conference Carolinas. Rich was also First Team All-Southeast Region Daktronics and Third Team All-Southeast Region from the NSCAA. An Arlington Heights, Illinois, native, Rich is a pre-health major.
The Women’s Volleyball team ended their season with a 29-6 record after they fell to Flagler College in the 2009 Women’s Volleyball NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional.
Lady Bobcat Whitney Justice took home Honorable Mention All-American Honors from the AVCA. Justice, who was Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, Second Team All-Southeast Region from Daktronics and First Team All-Southeast Region from the AVCA, led the Lady Bobcats with 386 kills for an average of 3.09 kills per set this season and also led the team with .93 blocks per set with 116 total blocks. Justice was the first Lady Bobcat Volleyball player to earn All-American honors since Lacie Smith was an All-American in 2006. A Connelly Springs, North Carolina, native, Justice is a junior Communication Arts major. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in advertising or design.
Also representing women’s volleyball was defensive specialist, Luana Rocha, who earned First Team All-Southeast Region honors as well from the AVCA. Rocha, who hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is a freshman.
Congratulations to these eight Bobcats who brought home individual honors and helped their teams to successful seasons.