Mercer Men's Lacrosse Team prepares for SoCon debute

After a record-breaking season in 2014, the Mercer Men’s Lacrosse Team is prepared to take on the Southern Conference in 2015.

In 2014, the Bears finished first in regular season play during the first lacrosse championship in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Overall, the Bears finished 7-7, losing in the semifinal of the championship to the University of Richmond Spiders 14-6.

In their record-breaking year, the team placed six members on All-Conference teams, four of whom will be returning for the 2015 season. Chris Baxa, Mike Nugent, Timmy Geran and Colin Massa earned All-Conference Second Team honors for the season and will contribute greatly to the team’s future success. Massa also earned honors on the All-Freshman team during his first season as a Mercer Bear. Kyle Hannan, the team’s head coach, also claimed A-Sun Coach of the Year during his second year of coaching for the Bears.

Nugent, the goalkeeper of the team, is ready to get back on the field.

“Right now, I’m looking most forward to just getting back into playing games,” said Nugent. “Preseason always makes you anxious to get back out there, but overall I’m looking forward to competing for a SoCon Championship.”

Last season alone, Nugent recorded 163 saves, 71 of which were in conference play. He started in 12 out of a total of 14 games and was a huge contributor to the team’s success. Nugent is excited to take on the newer opponents in the  Southern Conference, but he is more excited to take on long-time rival High Point University.

“I think our biggest competition in the SoCon will be High Point,” said Nugent. “Every year, it is a close game between us, and this year they were ranked as number one in the preseason, so we are looking to take them down.”

While the Southern Conference will offer a great deal of competition for the Bears, they also have some non conference games scheduled that will be tough competition.

“I think our biggest competition outside the SoCon this season will be the Air Force Academy,” said Nugent. “They went to the tournament last year and will be joining the SoCon for the 2016 season, so i think that game as a lot on the line.”

While the Bears have good leadership and experience returning for the 2015 season, the team also has 15 freshmen added to the roster. Even though a third of the team is made up of freshmen, Nugent has faith in this particular group of players.

“I think the freshmen on the team bring a lot of depth to the roster and will definitely help contribute to team’s success,” said Nugent.

The Bears have a good number of players returning for the Bears including the four selected to the All-Conference Second Team last season. Nugent is most excited to see his teammate and captain, Timmy Geran, take the field for his final season.

“A good asset to our team this year will be Timmy Geran, our captain who has stepped up big time for us this year,” said Nugent. “He is providing the team with good leadership. Overall, though, I think the whole team will contribute. We can only get better if everyone on the roster commits to our teams goals.”

The Bears first game will take place on Jan. 30 against the University of Tampa Spartans. The game is scheduled to take place at 4:30 p.m. on our home field.nudge