Lax plays inaugural home game against VMI

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Lax plays inaugural home game against VMI

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) The Bears celebrate a goal against VMI in their home opener against the Keydets a week ago.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) The Bears celebrate a goal against VMI in their home opener against the Keydets a week ago.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) The Bears celebrate a goal against VMI in their home opener against the Keydets a week ago.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) The Bears celebrate a goal against VMI in their home opener against the Keydets a week ago.

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(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) The Bears celebrate a goal against VMI in their home opener against the Keydets a week ago.

It’s finally here to stay at Mercer as the lacrosse team competed in their first three regular season games during their 2011 inaugural campaign under head coach Jason Childs.  After a convincing 16-2 win over Georgia Tech’s club team, the Bears seemed to be a little intimidated at Ohio State as they handily lost 20-2 before falling in their home opener to VMI 15-9 and on the road at Bellarmine 20-6.

Despite the losses though, the team received a standing room only crowd as fans tailgated and watched the first official NCAA Division I lacrosse game take place at Bear Field last week.

Ohio State 20, Mercer 2

Chalk up the loss to early-season jitters and an overpowering opponent.  OSU jumped out to a quick start, piling up goals to reach a 6-0 first quarter lead before Mercer sunk their first two goals of the game via Cole Branch and Brett Eisenmann.  Trailing 17-2 after three periods, the Bears staved off more Buckeye goals but it was an all-around tough day for MU goalie Justin Bateman who surrendered 17 goals but came up with seven saves.  OSU would outshoot the Bears 43-20 and would win 22 of 24 faceoffs.

“We got a lesson today in what happens when you are not 100% ready to play when it’s time to drop the ball,” said head coach Jason Childs afterwards on MercerBears.com.  “I thought we came out very tentative and worried too much about what OSU was going to do and not enough about what we needed to do,” he added.

VMI 15, Mercer 9

It was a loss, but the game still held important significance for the men in orange and black.  It was the first recorded D-I lax game in the state and in front of 478 fans, Mercer looked pretty good in the early going.  With nine freshman in the starting lineup, Mercer’s defense looked much improved after the loss at Ohio State, holding VMI to only one first quarter goal.  At halftime, the Bears only trailed 4-2.

The third quarter would prove to settle the match however as the Keydets forced eight goals to run the score to 12-5 to start the fourth period and push the game out of reach.  Bateman netted 11 saves, but gave up 14 goals as the Mercer offense came alive too late in the game.  Nine different players would score for Mercer and Branch and Eisenmann would each record their second goals of the season.

Bellarmine 20, Mercer 6

The Knights exploded in the second quarter for ten unanswered goals to take a 12-1 lead to halftime in another rout of the newly minted Mercer lax team.  Alex Baird would score the Bears’ first hat trick with three goals in the game, becoming Mercer’s first multi-goal scorer.

Bateman and Dillon Volk would split time in the net, with Bateman ringing up 13 saves while allowing 12 goals.  Once again, the Bears were outmatched statistically as they were outshot (50-36) and grabbed fewer faceoffs (10-30), but once again fought valiantly in Louisville during their third loss of the season.

After returning home for a match against Jacksonville, Mercer will travel to Detroit Mercy, Yale, Dartmouth, Sacred Heart, and Duke before returning home for a two game home stand against Carthage and Air Force.

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