Lacrosse continues skid, still in search of first win of 2012


The Mercer men’s lacrosse team has dropped four more contests to formidable opponents falling to 0-7 on the year.
The first match-up for the Bears was on Feb. 25 against Detroit-Mercy at Bear Field. The Mercer men’s lacrosse team allowed 11 second-half goals, including being outscored 7-0 in the third quarter to drop their fourth-straight match to start the season, 16-7.
The Titans of Detroit-Mercy had 20 more shots than the Bears in the game, and Mercer gave away 41 turnovers in what was seemingly a sloppy afternoon for both teams.
A lackluster first quarter saw just two goals with Detroit taking a 1-0 lead less than three minutes in. Mercer freshman attack-man Jay DeBole tied the game at one with his second goal of the season with just over three left to play in the first quarter.
The teams traded goals to start the second before Detroit rattled off three unanswered to take a 5-2 lead with just over five minutes left to play in the half. Sophomores Brett Eisenmann and Harry Baker each scored within a minute of each other to bring the Bears back to within one before the first half of play ended.
Over the next quarter and a half the Titans had six different players record nine goals to take a decisive 14-4 lead with just over 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
The Bears did not give up hope however, scoring three more goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. Sophomore Cole Branch netted his fifth of the season to snap the Titans nine-goal scoring streak.  Sophomore Zack Ward added a team-high two goals in the final five minutes to finish up the Bears scoring.
The next competition for the Bears was against the University of Michigan. The Bears were outscored 4-0 in the first quarter by the Michigan Wolverines, who were winless coming into the game in their first year of Division-I play. There were only six Michigan shots in the quarter, and this quickly gave the Wolverines the momentum going forward into the game.
It was not until nearly five minutes into the second quarter that the Bears were able to tally their first goal. Sophomore Nate Link made it a 4-1 Michigan lead when he scored his first of the season off a pass from Zack Ward.
Mercer would go another quarter without scoring, allowing four unanswered goals to Michigan. Halfway through the third quarter Michigan had a commanding 8-1 lead.
The Bears did get back-to-back goals from Zack Ward and Cole Branch to cut the lead to 8-3 by the four-minute mark in the third quarter, but that would be as close as Mercer would get as the Wolverines went on to score six of the last seven goals in the game.
Up next for the Bears was Holy Cross. The Mercer men’s lacrosse team dropped its sixth-straight, losing 12-6 to Holy Cross at a neutral site game played in Jacksonville, Fla.
Six different Mercer players scored on the day with Nate Link recording his second of the season off one of his team-high 11 shots. Cole Branch and Sam Grayson each added a goal and an assist. Branch is now second on the team in total points (12) with seven goals and five assists on the year.
Mercer did a decent job in the first half of dictating the pace and possession, selecting their shots on the offensive end. Mercer trailed 3-1 after the first quarter, but added 12 shots in the second and connected for two goals. Link scored the first in the second to cut the Holy Cross lead to 3-2.
The Crusaders would counter for the next two goals to extend a 5-2 lead late in the second. Zack Ward gave the Bears some momentum heading into the half when he tallied his team-leading ninth goal of the season with just 25 seconds remaining in the quarter to bring the score to within two, 5-3.
Holy Cross made several halftime adjustments that proved effective as the Crusaders scored four straight. Mercer’s 22 turnovers didn’t help.
C.J. Moore and Sam Grayson netted back-to-back goals by midway through the fourth to cut the Holy Cross lead to 9-5, but that would be as close at the Bears would get. The Crusaders scored three over the next two and half minutes to put the game out of reach.
MU’s Harry Baker scored his third of the season on a man-up opportunity with 10 seconds remaining to close out the scoring on the day.
The last match-up of the stretch for the Bears was against the Dolphins of Jacksonville. The Mercer men’s lacrosse team failed to score more than two goals in any quarter, losing 16-5.
The loss moves the Bears to 0-7 on the year. This meeting was the first between the two schools in lacrosse as both are members of the Atlantic Sun in most every other varsity sport.
For the fifth-straight game, the Bears were held scoreless in one of four quarters. Sophomore Justin Bateman, who received his first start of the season against Holy Cross, allowed all 16 goals while making just eight saves on the day. JU set the tone by jumping out to a 4-0 lead before Nate Link could put the Bears on the board at the 12:24 mark of the second quarter.
Zack Ward added his team-leading 10th goal of the season with under seven minutes to play in the first half to make the score 6-2. Ward also tallied a pair of assists in the game and now has 17 total points on the year.
Jacksonville rattled off two to end the first half and then scored the two of the second half to quickly put the game out of reach at 10-2 by the 4:45 mark of the third quarter. Mercer’s Timmy Geran scored his first of the season to put the Bears on the board in the third quarter, but Mercer trailed 11-3 after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, Mercer recorded its only back-to-back goals of the game, but it was too little too late as Brett Eisenmann and Alfonso Sciacchitano both scored with less than 10 minutes to play. By that time, the two Mercer goals closed the gap to 15-5 and the Dolphins would round out the scoring with just over three minutes to play in the game.