The Mercer men’s lacrosse is off to a great start as they just won their second Atlantic Sun Conference game. Saturday the Bears faced Virginia Military Institute and came out on top 8-3 at Mercer University Stadium.
Sophomore goalie Mike Nugent had a stand out performance, allowing only three goals on 30 VMI shots while pairing his 16 stops with two ground balls. The three goals allowed is a new season-best for Nugent against conference opponents. His 84.2 save percentage also marks a new season-best for a single game.
“Mike Nugent has been awesome in cage this year for us,” said freshman defenseman Colin Massa.
Sophomore Chris Baxa led the team in points in the contest with two goals and an assist while senior Zack Ward also had a multigoal performance with two scores. Senior Cole Branch, junior Timmy Geran, senior Eoin Collins and sophomore Anssi Kaisalmi each scored a goal in the contest as well.
“The cool thing about this year is we have a lot of people contributing and making plays,” said Massa, “ I think where we are at our best is when we are all playing together.”
Along with Nugent, the Bears have had other impressive defensive performances this season contributing to the team’s success. Colin Massa and sophomore midfielder Clay Rivers have led the defense, keeping opponents from generating much offense.
“Massa on the defensive end has been shutting down each team’s best attackman each week,” said Baxa, “Clay Rivers has been a huge surprise playing on the best midfielder each game too.”
Mercer’s next matchup is against another competitive A-Sun team next weekend. High Point is 2-0 in conference as well, but Mercer is confident they can come out with the win as previous wins have no effect on present games.
“I don’t think that speculating and trying to read into scores has any impact on what we need to do. There is so many factors that go into every game that makes it so unique. I think we just need to focus on us versus High Point and not speculate what scores versus common opponents means,” said Massa.
The Bears return to action in the start of a five-game road swing at High Point on March 22. Game time against the Panthers is scheduled for 1 p.m.