Abigael McGarel

Lenoir-Rhyne's Abigael McGarel passes to a teammate during Thursday's match against Lees-McRae in Hickory.

The Lenoir-Rhyne women’s soccer team opened the season with a 6-1 win over Lees-McRae on Thursday afternoon in Hickory. Abigael McGarel scored a pair of goals for L-R, which held a dominant 35-3 advantage in shots.

McGarel entered the match with nine career goals, but reached double digits with her pair of scores. Her first strike came on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute, while her second tally came off an assist from Madi Kyle in the second half.

The Bears’ trio of Hannah Van Eerden, Allie Zueger and Kyle each finished the match with a goal and an assist. For Zueger, it was the first goal of her L-R career, while Ria Acton also notched her first career goal.

Aqsa Mushtaq added eight shots and four shots on goal, while Zueger also had eight shots with five coming on frame.

The Bears (1-0) now have six straight victories over Lees-McRae (0-1) dating back to Sept. 13, 2003. L-R also opened the 2018 season against the Bobcats, winning 1-0.

L-R returns to action today when it hosts USC Aiken at 1 p.m.

MEN’S SOCCER

Limestone 3, Lenoir-Rhyne 0

The Bears were blanked by No. 25 Limestone on Thursday evening in Hickory, marking the second straight year the Saints have defeated them in the season opener.

Despite trailing 1-0 at the break, the Bears held a 9-5 advantage in shots in the first 45 minutes. Limestone’s first-half goal came when Sebastian Marx headed a corner from Roberto Ortega Lopez past the L-R goalkeeper in the 25th minute.

Tristyn de Laaf added a pair of second-half scores to account for the Saints’ final two goals.

Thursday’s matchup represented the final nonconference game between the teams, as Limestone (1-0) will join the Bears (0-1) in the South Atlantic Conference next year.

L-R entertains Lees-McRae on Sunday at 7 p.m.

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