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Friday, Dec 2, 2022

The Bear Breakdown: Updates in football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball

TJ Moore takes down a Garner-Webb player in the game on Saturday, September 24. The Bears defeated the Bulldogs 45-14 and moved to No. 13 in the AFCA FCS Coaches Poll.   PHOTO BY CLARENCE POWELL
TJ Moore takes down a Garner-Webb player in the game on Saturday, September 24. The Bears defeated the Bulldogs 45-14 and moved to No. 13 in the AFCA FCS Coaches Poll. PHOTO BY CLARENCE POWELL

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Football

The Bears beat Gardner-Webb 45-14 on Sept. 24 and moved up to number 13 in the AFCA FCS Coaches Poll.

They started out strong, scoring three times in the first quarter and keeping the Bulldogs from reaching the end zone. Devron Harper went on a 66-yard run to put the Bears on the board and then received a 27-yard touchdown pass from Fred Payton to add to the score. With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Payton threw a 15-yard pass to Drake Starks to put the Bears at 21-0. 

The Bulldogs saw their first touchdown in the second quarter, but the Bears answered quickly with an interception by Cameron Sims who returned the ball for a 67-yard touchdown. After halftime, the Bulldogs would score for the final time before the Bears solidified the win. Payton threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Harper to finish off the third quarter.

In the final quarter, Devin Folser nailed a 32-yard field goal through the uprights and Austin Douglas would complete a 1-yard run in the end zone to finish the game 45-14. 

Men’s Soccer

The Bears got the best of the visiting side, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, on Tuesday night, winning 3-2. The game’s first goal came in the 24th minute from Mercer’s Ousman Jabang ‘23. The Dragons would pull back the lead in the second half, but after a flurry of shots from the home side, Kadeem Agard ‘25 and Michael Ille, a graduate student, would score a goal each to put the Bears ahead for good.

At home on Friday night, the Bears came away with a frustrating tie against the University of North Florida, 2-2. Mercer took the lead after an early goal from North Florida with an electric strike from Dylan Gaither ‘23, and a header from William Pondeca ‘25 from a Kevin Kim ‘23 corner. Tempers flew in the second half resulting in five yellow cards being shown in the final 45 minutes, two of which were shown to North Florida.

The Bears play again at home against Georgia Southern on Tuesday, at 7 p.m.

Women’s Soccer

On Friday night, Mercer faced Chattanooga and lost the tough 1-0 game. The lone goal came at the very end of the first half. As is expected in a conference game, there was plenty of physicality. 32 total fouls over the whole game, of which Mercer had 15, tell the tale of the hard-fought game that the Bears were expecting.

Sunday, the Bears tied the Samford Bulldogs in a thriller, 2-2. Mercer started off the scoring in the 13th minute from a Ciara Whitley ‘23 goal and a Jada Moorman ‘26 assist. Samford tied it shortly after and the sides were level at halftime. In the 79th minute, Samford was awarded a penalty which they converted, giving them a lead with little time left. However, the Bears clawed back, earning and converting a penalty in the final 90 seconds of play. Lindsay Bell ‘25 had a stellar performance, saving 11 shots throughout the game that kept Mercer in the game.

Volleyball 

The Mercer volleyball team fell to the University of North Carolina Greensboro in the first Southern Conference match of the season on Friday, Sept. 23.

The Bears were able to keep up with the Trojans for the first two sets losing 25-22 and 26-24, but beat themselves in the third with their own errors, losing 25-17. Annie Karle had 11 kills, 11 digs, two aces and a block against UNCG. 

They also lost 3-0 to Western Carolina University on Sunday, Sept. 25. This game was not as close as the one prior, as the Bears lost 25-14, 25-13 and 25-20. Karle was trying to keep the team alive with her eight kills and six digs. Morgan Verheyen, Paige Wagers and Lillian Beardsley contributed five kills each, but the Bears could not come up with the win.

The weekend put the team’s record at 4-10 overall and 0-2 in conference play. They will take on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga on Friday, Sept. 30 at Hawkins Arena and attempt to sway the momentum of this season.


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