The Mercer men’s lacrosse team secured their first win of the 2021 season Saturday, beating the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears by a score of 17-4 in Five Star Stadium.
Mercer, now playing under new Coach Chad Surman, showed goal-scoring prowess and played consistent defense over four quarters to beat Lenoir-Rhyne. The scoring was balanced, as five separate Mercer players scored two or more goals.
Will McCarthy, Jack McGuire and Collin Stewart all notched three goals and one assist each. McCarthy led the team with 13 total shots, while Stewart continued a hot streak. This is Stewart’s second consecutive game with multiple goals, a result of an 87.5 percent on target rate through two contests this year.
The match was close after one quarter, as Mercer only led by a score of 2-1 entering the second quarter. As soon as the second quarter started, however, Mercer began to pull away.
Parker Junod scored just 34 seconds into the second quarter, and the lead continued to grow. Mercer’s defense held Lenoir-Rhyne to just a single second quarter goal.
By halftime, the score was 7-2.
Mercer continued to pull away. The team outshot Lenoir-Rhyne, taking 57 shots to Lenoir-Rhyne’s 17. The shooting difference played a part in Mercer’s ten second half goals. Mercer also outbattled Lenoir-Rhyne in ground balls, notching 33 to their opponents’ 18.
The dominant win puts Mercer at 1-1 on the season. The matchup marks the first time the two programs have met, and also gave Mercer its first win of the season. Lenoir-Rhyne is a Division II team and considered the matchup an exhibition, though they ranked eighth in the Division II USILA poll.
The men’s lacrosse squad wins this game coming off of a 9-7 loss to Bellarmine in their opening match on Jan. 30. With two games of experience now under their belt, the Bears will look to match the momentum of their shortened 2020 season. Mercer had a 6-1 record in 2020 before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mercer will look to pull off a major upset next, as they travel to Durham, North Carolina, to play against the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils Feb. 13.
Micah Johnston ‘22 is a journalism and media studies double major who has written for The Cluster since his freshman year at Mercer. He has written on and reported for Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Macon Telegraph and The Macon Newsroom on a variety of topics. He received the Center for Collaborative Journalism’s Junior Honors Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. Micah’s other interests include obsessively following Braves and Mariners baseball, constantly listening to all kinds of music and probably eating junk food.