Mercer Lacrosse continues to build, starts 2012 campaign 0-3

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After an inaugural 1-12 season for Mercer’s first-ever Division I lacrosse program, Head Coach Jason Childs and the bears have gotten off to a tough 2012 campaign with three consecutive losses to begin the spring.

Ohio State 15, Mercer 8

The Mercer men’s Lacrosse team opened up their season for the second straight year against the Buckeyes of Ohio State University. Although the outcome of both games was the same, with the Bears coming away without the victory, it is clear that the lacrosse team has improved by leaps and bounds in only its second year of existence. Whereas the orange and black were handedly beaten last year in enemy territory 20-2, this year would show just how far the program has come.

If it weren’t for an unfortunate second quarter, the Bears could have come away with the victory. As it was, however, they still came roaring back in the second half.

Down 12-3 with 5:18 left in the third quarter, Mercer would go on a scoring frenzy, posting four unanswered goals. Brett Eisenmann was in the thick of the flurry of shots, contributing a goal himself and two assists in the four-goal run, bringing the score to 12-7. However, the Buckeyes experience proved invaluable, as the Buckeyes would go on to win 15-8, taking almost twice as many shots as Mercer (48-27).

#6. UNC 20, Mercer 7

Played on neutral ground, Mercer would again show signs that their program is on the rise, as the preseason number six North Carolina Tarheels defeated Mercer 20-7 in Atlanta. Sophomore Zach Ward tied the game at 1-1 four minutes into the game. Unfortunately for Mercer Lacrosse, the rankings exist for a reason and the Tarheels would respond with eight unanswered goals.

Sophomore Cole Branch would answer with two goals of his own, but the orange and black were not able to keep up with the constant attack that UNC was dishing out. Although Mercer goalies Dillion Volk and Justin Bateman would combine for 16 saves, the Tarheels still managed 56 shots. Branch would finish with two goals and two assists, while Ward added two goals and an assist for the Bears.

Bellarmine 13, Mercer 5

In their closest game this season, the Bears were unable to produce goals and fell to the Knights of Bellarmine University for the second straight year. Even in defeat however, the Bears are constantly showing improvement.

Last year, the orange and black travelled to Louisville, Ky., and were beaten 20-6 by the Knights. This year, however, the Bears were a much more experienced team, as well as a team on a mission. Although Mercer and Bellarmine were near mirror images, with minor differences in shots, saves, ground balls, and face-offs, the turnovers proved costly as the Bears committed 18 to the stingy Knights’ six.

Mercer would jump out to an early 1-0 lead before giving up four unanswered goals to the Knights in the first quarter. Bellarmine would have another 4-0 run in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory. Sophomore Eoin Collins finished with two goals and an assist, while Branch and Ward each added an additional goal and assist.

The three losses bring the lacrosse team’s record to 0-3 on the season. They next hit the field on Saturday, Feb. 25 against the visiting Detroit Mercy. This ends the stretch of three home games in four matches as the Bears will hit the road for three straight and seven of nine away contests beginning March 4.