Mercer’s women’s soccer season is in full swing, and the team is looking to reestablish their Southern Conference dominance after a loss to Eastern Tennessee State in the first round of the playoffs last year. So far, the Bears hold a 4-1 record coming off of a 9-7-4 record last year.
The first home game of the season against Kennesaw State entered double-overtime and resulted in a 2-1 win. After an early Kennesaw State lead, junior midfielder Ally Fordham tied the game with assists from junior midfielder Sarah Adcock and midfielder/forward Abigail Zoeller. Freshman forward Ciara Whitley scored her first career goal at the 109th minute, clinching the win for the Bears. A standout from the night is junior goalkeeper Jordan Ebert, who stopped 11 attempts to score the whole game.
On Aug. 25, the team traveled to Knoxville and lost to the Tennessee Volunteers 3-0. Ebert successfully steered away 8 of 11 shots on goal. Although the Bears’ defense kept the score 1-0 for much of the match, it was unable to prevent the Volunteers from netting two more goals late in the game.
On Aug. 29, they returned to Tennessee to play Austin Peay and won 1-0, with one goal from Fordham and four saves from Ebert.
On Sept. 1, the Bears won 6-1 at home against Davidson. Freshman forward Nicole Icen had a hat trick, scoring her first three career goals. Megan Delmonico, freshman forward Amaya Evans and senior midfield/forward Logan Culver also netted one goal each. Zoeller assisted on two of Icen’s goals and on Delmonico’s, and Adcock assisted on Icen’s third goal.
The team had another double-overtime victory at home on September 6 over Gardner-Webb. Zoeller had seven shots on goal and scored on 2 penalty kicks to put the Bears up 2-1.
As for the rest of the season, Delmonico is feeling optimistic.
“I think that this is one of the first years where we have had really good team chemistry,” Delmonico said. “Everyone wants to win a championship and you can feel it.”
Delmonico was most excited for their upcoming matchups against Samford and Furman. She said that their biggest competition will be Samford, but “we have a really gritty team this year and I think we’re up for the challenge.”
This year, the squad is stronger than ever.
“I think that the past four years we’ve worked a lot on changing the culture of the team and having a team that is really supporting each other,” Delmonico said. “Everyone is really just focused on winning. Everyone wants to win…we have a really great coaching staff, and everyone’s behind us.”
The Bear’s next matchup is Sept. 13 at home against Georgia State at 7 p.m.