The Mercer men’s lacrosse team had three key matchups in the past few weeks, with the first being against Manhattan.
The team held a visiting Manhattan squad scoreless the entire second half of the game, but in the end failed to overcome a six-goal halftime deficit and lost 8-6 at Bear Field.
Mercer trailed the Jaspers 8-2 at the half and allowed six goals in the first quarter alone. The early assault by Manhattan proved too much as Mercer’s valiant comeback effort fell just short.
The loss dropped Mercer to 0-8 on the year. The Bears scored the game’s final four goals, including three in the fourth and outshot the Jaspers 33-26, but again couldn’t find the necessary plays to record the win.
Sophomores Brett Eisenmann and Eoin Collins paced the Bears with two goals each. Sophomore goaltender Jason Bateman recorded six saves in the losing effort.
The next game for the Bears was against Wagner. The Mercer men’s lacrosse team picked up its first Division I victory downing Wagner, 14-11 at Bear Field.
Last season, the Bears recorded the program’s first win by defeating Division III Carthage at home on March 19, 2011. Head coach Jason Childs etched another program first by leading his team to the victory over the Seahawks.
After trailing by as much as four goals late in the first half, Mercer scored five goals in the fourth quarter to take the win in an astounding comeback fashion.
“Getting that first win was just what we needed to boost morale. It’s always important to ge that first win,” said sophomore captain Sam Grayson. “Unfortunately, ours came late in the season, but we look to take this momentum into the final stretch of games over the next couple of weeks and hopefully, we can pick up a second one.”
Mercer recorded program highs in nearly every statistical category including a remarkable 44 shots in the game, 28 of which were on goal. It was also the first time this season that the Bears recorded double-digit scores. The 14 goals were the most since the win last season against Carthage.
Sophomores Eoin Collins and Zack Ward tallied three goals each, recording their first hat tricks of their careers. Justin Bateman recorded a massive 14 saves in the win.
The Bears then went on to face Towson, an established lacrosse program that is currently playing its 54th season. Towson’s experience and history proved to be too much for the Bears as Mercer fell 17-8 on what turned out to be a historic evening at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Towson recorded its program’s 400th win against in program history.
For the seventh consecutive game, the Bears fell behind first as Towson recorded the games first three goals. Mercer was held scoreless for nearly the first 10 minutes of the game before Zack Ward buried his team-leading 15th goal of the season. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Towson amassed an impressive three goals in just over a minute and the Bears failed to find the net with the same efficiency of Towson.
Mercer’s next matchup is at Air Force on Mar. 31. The Bears travel to Colorado Springs for a rematch of last season’s game played in Macon.