Men’s lacrosse trounces VMI

In their arguably most impressive performance this season, the Mercer men’s lacrosse team ended their five-game losing streak with a 16-8 dominating win over Virginia Military Institute on Sunday, April 14 in Lexington, Va. Junior Zack Ward and freshman Chris Baxa each had five points in the victory.
After Baxa opened the afternoon’s scoring at the 7:08 juncture of the first quarter, the Bears continued to hold the lead for the rest of the contest. Junior Keoni Rausch and Ward each added a goal in the first quarter to give the Black and Orange a 3-1 lead in the opening 15 minutes.
The Bears proceeded to run an explosive offense in the second quarter, finding the goal six more times on 17 shots to take a commanding lead at halftime, 9-2.
To open up the second half, the Keydets began to fight back with three-straight goals, but the Bears responded with three straight goals in the final 5:25 of the third quarter to withstand the comeback.
With a score of 12-6 going into the fourth quarter, the Bears continued to press offensively to secure the win. Mercer put up four more goals while holding VMI to only two.  
Baxa’s four goals pushed his season total to 31 and established a new program single-season record.  His 31 goals surpassed the previous standard of 27, held by current junior Cole Branch in 2011.
Ward also registered four goals and an assist on Sunday, marking his second-straight game with five points.  As a team, the Bears’ 27 points, 16 goals, 11 assists, 53 shots and 30 shots on goal are all season highs.
Juniors Harry Baker and Cole Branch each registered two goals in the win while junior John Avent and sophomore Tyler Schott each tallied one.
Freshman goalie Mike Nugent made 14 saves to capture his fourth win of the season.
The Bears will conclude their season at home against Jacksonville on April 27. Game time at the Moye Lacrosse Complex is scheduled for 1 p.m.