Men's soccer regroups after loss against South Carolina

Following a tough 1-0 loss against the University of South Carolina in their first competitive rivalry Sunday Aug. 18, the Mercer University men’s soccer team has since been preparing for future defeat.The exhibition game, which took place at Stone Stadium after nearly a two-hour rain delay, began the 2013 season for both Mercer and South Carolina.

Senior Greg Ranjitsingh made eight saves against the Gamecocks during the 90-minute competition, contributing to a scoreless first half.

South Carolina seized a 9-3 edge in corner kicks as well as an over powering 23-6 advantage in shots during the entire match.

Regardless of the returning goalkeeper’s efforts, the Gamecocks successfully made the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute of play.

Though captains haven’t been named for the 2013 season, senior Joey Heavner believes that in addition to Ranjitsingh’s confidence defending the critical distance between his posts, additional leaders have emerged in the line up.

“Several of my teammates have instinctively stepped into leadership positions. They have done well in leading the team both in practice and competition so far.”

Seniors Brady O’Brien and Ryan King, each one of six Mercer Bears who started in all 20 games in the 2012 season, led their team during the 60 minutes of play.

King, who is known for his defensive steadfastness and remarkable ingenuity when facilitating his teammates’ goals, constantly demonstrated his talents on the field last Sunday.

His thoughts, much like his skill on the field, exhibit his positive attitude.

“As a team, we never accept losing. With that being said, we definitely are not pleased about Sunday’s result. However, it was an exhibition and the reason you play exhibitions is to determine what you need to work on—so it wasn’t a demoralizing loss,” said King.

Having one of the most talented-filled rosters in the history of the Mercer men’s soccer program, O’Brien believes that they are nothing short of being one of the best teams in the southeast.

“Keeping the upcoming Clemson match in mind, we fully expect to compete and win against a big time ACC school to further our reputation as being a dominant southeast team to play,” O’Brien adds.

Also stepping in to lead Mercer on the field in the matchup on Sunday was forward sophomore Jason Sayers. He had three attempted shots, two of which being on goal.

King reassures that this year’s preparation is not only aimed towards immediate competition, but in hopes of having the highest success possible: leaving the A-Sun Championship match victorious.

“We have had extremely tough sessions that include fitness training as well as full field scrimmages. Also, we have been examining Sunday’s film to fix the areas that we need to work on.”

With seven core starters returning to the field, the Bears are looking at a promising season, including a repeat return to the A-sun conference final game.

“The team this year contains a lot of depth with the returning amount of upperclassmen as well as the addition of our freshman, which is important in a long schedule,” Brady states.

Mercer will resume regular season competition for the Fall of 2013 as they compete on the road at Clemson on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.