After going 5-8 last season and losing the season opener to Bellarmine University in 2021, the Bears faced the Bellarmine Knights to open the 2022 season on Saturday. Mercer came in looking to avenge their two losses, having lost the final game of the season to Bellarmine as well, and did just that by winning 9 to 4.
Mercer jumped out to a lead early, scoring three times in the first period of the game. Sean Goldsmith, Taylor Dooley and Parker Judd all found the net to go up 3-0 on Bellarmine.
The Knights, however, had no plans to go away quietly. To start the second half, Bellarmine's Denton Macdonald, Brayden Brown and Benny O'Rourk scored the next three goals unanswered tying the game 3-3.
That burst, however, was the only one the Knights could muster. Mercer closed out the second half with a goal by Matthew Winegardner to go up 4-3.
Coming out of the half, the Bears ran away with the game. They scored not one, not two, but five straight goals to go up 9-3 in before the fourth. Dooley, Cole Leggett, Khory Reid, Goldsmith and Carl Klepper scored the five goals in order.
The Knights could only muster a single goal in the fourth period and the game ended in a Bears win 9-4.
Both teams had nearly identical total shots with Mercer at 29 and Bellarmine at 28. The Bears, however, had more shots on goal with 16 compared to 10. The real difference in the game came from face-offs and ground balls. Mercer collected 23 ground balls compared to Bellarmine's 23 and won 14 face-offs against the Knight's three.
The Bears are staying home to play Bucknell on Feb. 5 at 11 a.m.
Keith Holmes Jr. ‘22 is a journalism and creative writing double major who has worked with The Cluster as general staff since his Sophomore year. Keith has received Best in SNO awards for his sports articles along with years of work at Mercer’s ESPN3 branch. Keith spends his free time playing video games and writing fiction around campus.