The Mercer University’s men’s soccer team kicked off their 2013 season with an exhibition game versus the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, Aug. 18. The Bears went on to play Clemson, Elon, and UNC Wilmington the following week. Although they were unable to pull out a win, the team is looking at a successful season ahead.
“We got to play against very talented opponents and got a taste of what it feels like to play in big game,” said junior goalkeeper, Greg Ranjitsingh. “We still have a couple games before conference begins, but we are taking each game one at a time. Every time we are out on the field, we take it as an opportunity to improve.”
Ranjitsingh contributed eight saves in the effort to defeat the Gamecocks. Sophomore, Jason Sayers led the Bears with three shots.
The Bears fought hard to maintain a scoreless first half. However, the Gamecocks were able to score in the second half, securing their 1-0 win against the Bears.
Hungry for a win, the Bears traveled to Clemson on Aug. 30 for what would be Clemson’s Season Opener as well.
The Bears played defense well the first half, however, a Clemson senior managed to score seconds before the first half was over.
Trailing Clemson 0-1, the Bears made a valiant effort to score. Senior Ryan King led the team with three shots, one of which was on goal.
Ranjitsingh contributed two saves to the Bears defensive efforts. However, the Tigers’ 11-6 advantage in shots was enough for them to add a second goal, eventually defeating the Bears 2-0.
Mercer’s weeklong break prepared them for action as they took on Elon in the UNC Wilmington Hilton Garden Inn Classic.
Senior Ehjayson Henry scored the first goal of the game in the second half. Giving the Bears an edge with 1-0 lead. However, Elon was quick to answer and scored two goals, giving them a 2-1 advantage over the Bears.
With only five minutes left to play, Henry scored his second goal of the game, tying the score at 2-2.
The score remained the same through the first overtime. Elon eventually broke the tie in double overtime bringing the score to 3-2 and giving them the win over the Bears. Henry commented on the loss.
“We were able to come back from being down a goal versus Elon, a very good team, and we were able to force overtime. We played really well.”
Henry earned the second multi-goal performance of his career at Mercer, and Ranjitsingh made a season high of nine saves.
In the last game of the Hilton Garden Inn Classic, the Bears fell to UNC Wilmington 3-1.
The Black and Orange started off rocky as UNC Wilmington scored two first half goals.
In the 71st minute of play, sophomore David Murtaugh bent in a corner kick service that classmate James Walters was able to head into the back of the goal to cut the Seahawks’ lead to 2-1.
In the final minutes of play, UNC Wilmington scored on a breakaway opportunity to put the game out of reach for the Bears, making the final score 3-1.
“Going into conference, the team is looking good as we have been playing quality teams that have been helping us better prepare for conference teams,” said Henry.
Ranjitsingh made three saves in the losing effort.
The Bears return to play on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. when they take on Winthrop at Bear Field.