Mercer's men’s soccer team dispatched Furman University 4-0 on Sunday in the Southern Conference Semifinals, gaining entry into the conference championship game this Sunday.
If victorious in the title game, this will be the team’s fourth title since 2016, with the only unsuccessful year being 2018.
The sun’s warmth spread amongst the crowd in Betts Stadium and an early score by Mercer caused that warm feeling to grow. By the seventh minute, Dylan Gaither’s first goal of the day came and set the tone for the rest of the match.
The Paladins, however, didn’t allow another score and kept Mercer’s lead at a slim one-goal advantage heading into the break at the half. However, any concerns regarding a Furman comeback were swiftly dismissed shortly into the second half. A rash challenge by a Furman player sent Dylan Gaither to the penalty box. Gaither added his second goal of the game in the 51st minute off the penalty kick.
Not long after, Gaither was able to complete his hat trick, coolly shooting past the on-rushing Furman keeper, after a pass from forward Kadeem Agard.
The ill-discipline of the Furman team came back to haunt them. A red card for Josh Hosie in the 77th minute put the game firmly out of reach for the Paladins.
The Bears added to their tally in the 88th minute, with Logan Longo striking off an assist from both Natnael McDonald and Trevor Martineau.
Mercer's commanding performance has booked their place in the SoCon Championship game. They will face the No. 4 seed Belmont, who upset the No. 1 seed UNCG, 2-1.
As the higher seed, Mercer will host the championship game at the Hawkins Arena. The game will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14th.