The Mercer Men’s soccer team travelled to play three ranked teams in the past week. The Bears first suffered a tough 0-4 loss to the No. 20 UAB on Sept. 21.
The Bears then travelled to Memphis to take on the No. 22 Tigers. The Bears started off a little slow, letting the Tigers gain a 2-0 lead. However, sophomore David Murtaugh scored a goal, helping the Bears cut the lead in half at 2-1. The defense could not fight off the Tigers, and the Bears eventually dropped the game 3-1.
Ready for a win, the Bears travelled to South Carolina to take on Presbyterian College. They started the game off right with a goal by Murtaugh, assisted by senior Ehjayson Henry, in the 31st minute of play.
The Bears kept the Blue Hose at zero, even extending the lead with a goal by Juan Jose Morales shortly after the half.
Presbyterian scored a goal late in the second half, bringing the score to 2-1. However, the Bears’ defense, led by goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh, kept the Blue Hose from scoring, securing the 2-1.
The win was a great way for the Bears to kick off their conference games on Oct. 4 and 6.
The Bears started their conference season with a 3-1 victory over USC Upstate. The Bears scored three goals, a season high, against the Trojans. This is the sixth straight conference opener win for the Bears.
Juan Jose Morales scored the first goal off an assist from senior Joey Heavner in the first four minutes of the game. The Bears kept their lead, holding off Upstate into the half.
Senior Ehjayson Henry scored the next goal for the Bears off an assist from senior Ryan King. This was Henry’s fifth goal of the season, a team high for the number of goals scored by a single player.
However the Bears did not stop there. Sophomore David Murtaugh scored off a breakaway, giving the Bears their third and final goal.
Heavner added two assists to his record in game, boosting him to 20 career assists. This places him second to Max Rooke in Mercer’s program history.
The Bears play their second conference game on Sunday versus East Tennessee State at 2pm.
The Bears put up a good fight against the Buccaneers, however, they could not pull out a victory. The men dropped their second conference game with a score of 2-0.
The Bucs started off the game in the seventeenth minute when David Geno, the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year, scoring the first goal of the game. The Bucs held that score going into halftime, and eventually posted a second goal, giving them a 2-0 lead over the Bears.
The Bears played a tight defense, and goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh contributed six saves during the game. However, the Bears were limited offensively. The Bucs defense allowed them only one shot on goal.
The Bears are now 1-1-0 in conference play and 3-8-0 overall. Sophomore David Murtaugh admits “it’s been a rough start so far; however, we did have one of the toughest opening schedules out of the teams in our conference.”
The Bears are not losing faith for the rest of conference play. In fact, Murtaugh believes that the team’s “chances for winning conference look good, but it’s going to be a close race between us, ETSU, and FGCU.”
The Bears will return on Oct. 10 to face Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. on Bear Field. They will resume conference play on Sunday, Oct. 13, against Jacksonville University.