Mercer Says Farewell to Lacrosse Goalkeeper Mike Nugent
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If you’ve never seen Mercer University lacrosse goalkeeper Mike Nugent play, then you have little time left to witness one of the best in the nation.
It has been an impressive run for Nugent. Ever since joining the team his freshman year, he has started every single year and compiled a list of impressive stats along the way including over a 50 percent save rate. Early in the season against VMI he allowed 0 goals and saved 9 shots on goal.
Nugent is now a senior at Mercer so this is his final season with the team, and he says he wants to finish strong.
“You’ve got to hold nothing back,” Nugent said. “I’m really looking forward to putting it all on the line. Hopefully we make a push at the conference tournament and earn some extra games.”
Nugent first picked up a lacrosse stick in the fifth grade. A friend of his that lived down the street owned a pair of lacrosse sticks and that’s when he first learned of the sport. He later joined a YCC team and that’s when his passion for the sport began.
“I’ve loved it ever since I got a stick in my hand,” Nugent said.
Before coming to Mercer, Nugent was committed to play lacrosse at West Point Military Academy but decided that wasn’t the path for him. Nugent said that he wanted to be closer to home and that Mercer, being one of the few D1 lacrosse programs in Georgia, was perfect for him.
Nugent said that after playing at Mercer for so many years he has come to think of his team as a family.
“My teammates are my brothers,” Nugent said. “Coach (Hannan) makes it pretty clear he wants us to be the best team in the country. Being the best team and coming together and being that family goes a long way. We have a term we say, ‘play for the guy to the left and to the right of you’.”
One of Nugent’s good friends on the team, Colin Massa, a junior defender on the team, described Nugent as being one of the best goalies in the country, but also an amazing person when they’re not playing the game.
“I really think Nuge [sic] is the heart and soul of our team with his skill obviously, but also his ability to get guys going and keep everyone smiling off the field,” Massa said.
In the 2014 season, Nugent ranked 7 nationally in saves per game and ended the season with 163 saves overall.
“It’s going to be a challenge to replace someone as talented as he is,” Massa said.
Nugent is majoring in communications with a minor in business administration. After he graduates, he wants to pursue a career in sports management or medical sales.
“I’m looking forward to the next step now that it’s done,” Nugent said. “You don’t want to think about it too much. I’m just trying to take it game by game but I know when the last whistle sounds at the end of the season part of me is going to be taken, but I’m also really excited to start the last chapter of my life.”